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Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 4th Visit to Georgia

Fourth Visit

March 27 - May 5, 1926

When Roosevelt returned to Warm Springs in the spring of 1926, he was ready to purchase much of the property himself. Loyless had died and Peabody was prepared to sell the properties. Roosevelt was already spending huge sums of money trying to regain his physical health, and he may well have seen Warm Springs as a profitable enterprise. When the deal was finally concluded on April 29 he wrote to his mother: “I seem to have bought Warm Springs.” (6) The property purchased by Roosevelt included the springs themselves, the hotel and cottages used by previous guests, and approximately twelve hundred acres of surrounding countryside. After the purchase he began serious investigation into the curative powers of the waters of Warm Springs. The American Orthopedic Association was holding a national convention in Atlanta, and Roosevelt convinced them to undertake detailed experimentation on the waters. Roosevelt also convinced Dr. LeRoy Hubbard, orthopedic surgeon for the New York State Dept. of Health, to head the committee doing the study. Dr. Hubbard, a swimming instructor, and the investigators studied twenty-three patients at Warm Springs for six months, and noted improvement in each case. They recommended establishing a permanent hydrotherapeutic center at Warm Springs. While Roosevelt was very excited by the possibilities inherent at Warm Springs, his wife Eleanor was more skeptical – but still supportive. On May 4. she wrote to her husband:

“… I know you love creative work, my only feeling is that Georgia is somewhat distant for you to keep in touch with what is really a big undertaking. One cannot, it seems to me, have vital interests in widely divided places … . Don’t be discouraged by me; I have great confidence in your extraordinary interest and enthusiasm… .” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1905-1928, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 606-10.

Roosevelt was not discouraged, but did leave the next day to spend the summer with his family in New York.