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FDR Remarks at Dedication of Sara Delano Roosevelt Community Center, Warm Springs, Nov. 24, 1939

President Roosevelt’s Remarks at the Dedication of the Sara Delano Roosevelt Community Center Warm Springs, Ga., November 24, 1939


I am glad Mrs. Hill spoke about the past and I like to think, not of the long distant past before I knew Warm Springs but of Warm Springs just in the past fifteen years.

I was talking last night to the patients [see text of remarks] about the great changes up on the Hill. I could have said the same thing about all the changes down here, below the Hill. I can remember what a real journey it was to go to Atlanta and how one needed a bath after arriving there, before the days of concrete roads. I can remember this Main Street in town before we improved it, because the Highway Department would not have done it unless we had insisted on it. And I can remember, too, how very insistent the Women’s Club was at that time in having this little park in the middle of the street. There are lots and lots of things that I can remember.

As a matter of fact, my dear Mother was almost here today. About ten days ago, when I was at Hyde Park, she said, “You know, I think I would like to go down with you on this trip but I am only going to get a few weeks up here on the River before I go to town and I think I will have to postpone it until Spring.” So I am hoping very much that next March, when I come down here as usual, my Mother will be able to come with me and see this building and go inside and look it all over, from the roof to the fire department.

You know, you good people are not at all grasping. Up in the little village of Hyde Park, for the last four or five years, every time I go to any kind of community gathering, somebody gets up and says, “Mr. President, when are we going to get that new post office?” But, as far as I know, there has not been a request from Warm Springs for a new post office.

Well, what have we got? We have got a little over a year left. I do not know that the next Administration would give Warm Springs a new post office. But there has got to be a local demand and then maybe if I were to get hold of Jim Farley and take him firmly by the neck I might squeeze a new post office out of him.

Actually, it took me a long time to get one for Hyde Park but Jim Farley and the Treasury Department decided about six months ago that Hyde Park was due for a post office. Of course we are very fortunate up there because we have a Republican Congressman and that means that he does not allocate the post offices in his district – I do. Now, you have a perfectly good Democratic Congressman so, of course, the first thing to do is to get on the right side of our Congressman down here. I do not allocate the post offices in this district – he does.

I go back even to the days when there were two post offices. There was a post office here and another post office up on the Hill. There was a delightful old gentleman who took care of all the property on the Hill from the time Warm Springs closed,, about the middle of September, until the following May. He was the only inhabitant up there except for a few people who used to come down over a weekend to the Cottage. Of course he read all the postcards – the people who run our post office down here would never do a thing like that. We were very, very comfortable up there with our post office. It was a one-man show and I suppose, in the course of the winter, there might be one letter a week. But here we have an increasing post office business and I think probably, if you good people would start the ball rolling, your Congressman might get a new one.

That is only a suggestion but I do like to see new buildings, especially if they are as nice looking as this one is. I know my Mother is going to be very, very happy when she sees this building, I hope next Spring, so I hope to be able to bring her down here. And I also hope you will let her dedicate it instead of my dedicating it. This will be a preliminary dedication.

It has been fine to come down again. I am delighted that this building has been put up. The Community Center is doing a grand piece of work for the town and I know it is going to increase in usefulness as the years go by.

Many thanks.

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