Monday, July 18, 2016

Vanderbilt Mansion and Val-Kill

Today the folks toured Vanderbilt Mansion and Val-Kill (Eleanor Roosevelt's home).

Vanderbilt Mansion was built in 1895.  Here is a link if you want to learn the history.  Vanderbilt Mansion

Following are pictures of the mansion.  The outside is undergoing renovations.

Reception Hall

Reception Hall

Dining Room

One of the upstairs bedrooms

Owners bedroom.  His wife had her own room.

Wife's bedroom

Guest room

The men and women in upper class had separate rooms.  The ones who were not of the highest status, shared a room but had separate beds.

The house does not have air conditioning, so it was hot today at 10 a.m.  It was a hot day, so it probably got a lot worse as the day went on.  The tour is $10 a person.

Mom said the house has beautiful woodwork, but the furnishings were definitely not to her liking.

After the tour, they drove to Val-Kill which was Eleanor's Roosevelt's home.

The tour for Val-Kill is $10 but if you pay for two of the three National Park Service homes here, you get one free, so this one was free for them since they toured FDR's home and Vanderbilt Mansion.

Eleanor's Home
Stone Cottage was the first building here.  Two of Eleanor's friends and business partners lived here.  Eleanor stayed here as a getaway until her home was built.

Val-Kill Industries was also here.  It was a business that Eleanor and her friends created.  It trained out of work rural residents in traditional crafts such as furniture.

After Eleanor died, the place was turned into apartments. Her children took what they wanted of the furnishings and then auctioned off the rest.  Eventually, the National Park Service took over the property.  They then sent out word that they would like the pieces back that were sold.  The family returned many of the items and people continue to bring back items so that the house can be as she left it.  There are pictures that have not been returned yet, so instead of just putting anything on the wall, there are blank spots where the missing photos belong.
This group of photos was her secretary's apartment.

Since the tour group was only five people, they were allowed to go up to the second floor and see the bedrooms.  
Spare room

This is her bedroom.
She liked the housekeeper to put the clean linens on her bed so that she knew what she had for guests.

She loved using her screened in porch as her bedroom.

Now, we are going back to the main floor.

Front door

Dining room.  Casual dishes were her style.  Card tables were brought out for family gatherings so that everyone had a place to eat.

This was her living room.

See the chair behind the lamp?  JFK sat there asking her to back him for President.
 The President spent a lot of time entertaining here, but never spent the night.  The bedrooms were upstairs and  his wheelchair was a problem. She stayed here when he was out of town.  When he died, she moved here.  However, she was a woman on the go and never stayed home more than ten days in a row.

She was quite an inspiring woman.  She had a bad childhood and was very shy. She went away to school and that shaped her into a confident woman.  She was a dutiful wife until she found out FDR had a mistress. She then became her own person.  She worked hard for civil rights.  It is said that the Ku Klux Klan put a hit out on her and the secret service told her not to attend a rally. They said they could not protect her. She chose to drive up a mountain road in the dark without protection to attend the rally.  She definitely was not that scared little girl anymore.  

Creek by the house. This is where her family spent a lot of time.

There are tennis courts which need repair and a pool that FDR used quite often for therapy.  This is where he went  to relax.

The park ranger said he has met several of the grandchildren who have come back to visit.  They said it was a place that the family really enjoyed.

If you want to learn more about this inspiring woman, here is a link: Eleanor Roosevelt.

The Greyhound Who Is Resting For His Next Leg Of The Trip

Beach Life Is The Best

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