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Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 8th Visit to Georgia

Eighth Visit

July 29 - August 3, 1927

Roosevelt returned for a brief, one-week stay at Warm Springs, where he continued his efforts on behalf of the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. Though the following letter to his aunt was penned at Hyde Park, it clearly shows the success he was having and the enthusiasm he felt about developments at Warm Springs. He was concerned, however, about the type people his efforts might attract; he was much more interested in helping paralysis victims than in catering to wealthy vacationers:

“… I am sending you some of our folders about Warm Springs. The work of starting a combined resort and therapeutic center has been most fascinating for it is something which, so far as I know, has never been done in this country before. We have already 30 patients there this summer and out total capacity for this coming year will be only 50, a figure I think we shall reach in a few weeks. Most of the patients are suffering from infantile paralysis though we have two arthritis cases at the present time and expect several others, and also hope to have a good many people come their next winter for a few weeks of after-cure succeeding operations or serious illness. It ought to be a success as the doctors are most enthusiastic, and at the same time, the climate is a delightful one all year round. The elevation of 1000 feet makes it cool enough even in summer and it is far enough south to make it dry and bracing, and yet warm enough during the winter. Aside from the therapeutic value, we have so many natural resources for the families or patients that the swimming, golf, riding and quail shooting ought to appeal to those in perfect health. The whole property I have put under the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation and am now busily engaged in trying to raise two or three hundred thousand dollars to carry out improvements and pay the mortgage on the property. Oh, I do wish that you could be wafted down there and placed gently in a chair and slid gracefully down a ramp into the water. You would love the informality and truly languid southern atmosphere of the place! My one fear is that this gentle charm will appeal to some of our rich friends who are suffering from nervous prosperity and that they will come down there and ruin our atmosphere. Cousin Susy Parish talks of a visit there, but I am not certain that she could endure our southern cooking… .” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 623-4

The interest in Warm Springs exceeded even Roosevelt’s always optimistic predictions; by the end of the year seventy-one patients had been treated there and the staff had grown to one hundred and ten!