Theodore Roosevelt Island history
This island, and its memorial, is dedicated to the 26th President of the United States; Theodore Roosevelt. The known history of the island dates back to mid 17th century, when the Anacostia Indians had been relocated to the island.
The island was later acquired by George Mason in the 18th century, who built a mansion and gardens on the site. The family later left the island and a fire in 1906 destroyed much of garden and the abandoned mansion. Even though the family had left long ago, the island was locally still known as the “Mason Island” and by now the wildlife of the island had once again taken over.
The Roosevelt Memorial
The island was bought by the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association in 1931. The congress authorized the memorial and later provided the appropriate funding in 1960. The memorial was officially dedicated in 1967. But who was the man this memorial and island is dedicated to?
Theodore Roosevelt was born into a wealthy and respect family in the mid 19th century. He studied at Harvard and gained an interest in naval affairs. After his studies, he wrote a book on the naval war against the British in 1812.
He lived much of his life in New York City, but being the outdoorsman he was, he also spent time in the Badlands. Roosevelt got into politics and led the Department of the Navy but later resigned to lead a small regiment, known as the “Rough Riders”, during Spanish-American war.
Peace Prize winner
After the war, Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor and elected Governor of New York and later Vice President of the United States. With the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, Roosevelt became the US President at only age 42.
Roosevelt’s world stage politics can be defined by his motto “Speak softly and carry a big stick”. He was responsible for finishing the Panama Canal and negotiated an end to the Russian-Japanese war, for which he later gained the Nobel Peace Prize.
A legendary president
Roosevelt declined to run for re-election in 1908 and instead went on a long trip through Africa and Europe and later through South America. During the latter he contracted malaria which damaged his health.
He died a few years later at the age of 60. Theodore Roosevelt’s achievements as a naturalist, explorer,hunter, author, and soldier are as much a part of his fame as any office he held as a politician. He is ranked one of the greatest Presidents of the United States in history.
One fun little fact is that a very famous toy in named after Theodore Roosevelt. The story originates from a hunting trip which Theodore, also known as “Teddy” took in Mississippi in 1902. His hunting friends had all killed an animal, but Roosevelt was left empty handed. Suddenly some of the hunters showed up with a Black Bear they had caught and suggested that Roosevelt should shoot it.
He refused to shoot the bear, deeming it highly unsportsmanlike. This story later became a cartoon in the Washington Post which inspired a man to make a new kind of toy for kids. The toy was a stuffed bear, named “Teddy’s Bear” and with this, the Teddy Bear we know today was born.
Why visit Roosevelt Island ?
While the Theodore Roosevelt monument is not as grand as many of Washington DC’s other presidential memorials, it has a certain charm and serenity over it. The island serves as an oasis in the middle of the Potomac River.
The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial is focused around a central plaza, dominated by two fountains and a five meters statue of Theodore Roosevelt. In the plaza, visitors will also be able to find four large stone monoliths with some of Roosevelt’s more famous quotations.
The fact that the whole island is dedicated to Roosevelt is very suiting, as he was a true explorer and a wildlife appreciator. A visit to the island is a good way to escape the busy city life and it is unlike any other site in the area.
Theodore Roosevelt Island location
Theodore Roosevelt Island is located in eastern United States. It lies situated in the middle of the Potomac River, next toWashington D.C. For the exact location of Theodore Roosevelt Island, check out the location map to the right!