Oyster Bay, N.Y. – For the first time in more than three years the public will be able to tour the Theodore Roosevelt House at Sagamore Hill. Following an extensive rehabilitation project on the structure as well as restorative attention to objects in the house, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site will celebrate the long awaited reopening with a free family festival on Sunday, July 12, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Attendees will see history come alive as Theodore Roosevelt, as portrayed by Jim Foote, returns home. There will be an equestrian reenactment of the First United States Volunteer Cavalry by “The Rough Riders,” including a call for recruits where young volunteers will receive their enlistment papers. Pony rides will be available throughout the day along with a petting farm in the historic pastures where the Roosevelt family kept their own livestock. Arts and crafts, as well as old-fashioned games like the family played will be available. There will be a naturalist program on the shore of Cold Spring Harbor. Author Kathleen Bart will be on site to read from and sign copies of her book Tale of Two Teddies.
Throughout the day around the site, visitors will be able to enjoy historic carriages on display by Paumonok Driving Club and antique automobiles displayed by the Long Island Sound Region, Classic Car Club of America. There will be a partner tent to help visitors learn about other great places to explore on Long Island, including the Theodore Roosevelt Audubon Sanctuary, and the Waterfront Center who will host a touch tank of local sea life, to name only a couple. An interactive photo booth will be provided by the Baltimore Photo Social where you can share with your friends that you really did #FindYourPark. All the while you can enjoy the “Happiest Music on Earth” produced by the Long Island Band Organ, based on a 1919 Wurlitzer 105 Military Band Organ under the direction of Michael Falco. There will be vendors on site to offer American fare, including a lemonade stand and ice cream from Gooseberry Grove.
The official reopening ceremony will take place at the Theodore Roosevelt House at 2:00 p.m. with engaging addresses from Roosevelt family members, public officials, an author, and others. Contrary to a recent press article, the United States Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewel, will not be one of the attending dignitaries. The reopening addresses will be interspersed with period music and Sousa marches performed by the Sagamore Hill Band under the direction of Steve Walker. Color guard will be provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Unit of the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps, under the leadership of Lieutenant Commander Forrest Woodward.
The highlight of the day will be free first floor tours of the home beginning at 9:00 a.m. Tours will start after a ceremonial placement of the final object in the house. The morning ceremony will be accompanied by an acapella performance of “Sagamore Hill” by the Roosevelt Singers. Visitors will be able to walk through the first floor of the newly reopened home, which was Roosevelt’s home from 1885 until his death in 1919, serving as the “Summer White House” during his administration from 1901 to 1909. Access to the house will be on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be no advanced reservations. Guides will be positioned in the house to provide an informative experience. Bags, packs, and strollers will not be permitted in the Theodore Roosevelt House during the tours—please plan accordingly.
Due to the high visitation anticipated on July 12 and the limited parking available on site, Sagamore Hill NHS will be implementing a satellite parking system on the day of the event. Remote parking will be at the East Woods School in Oyster Bay Cove, as well as at Oyster Bay High School and Vernon School in Oyster Bay. Regular free shuttles will provide service throughout the day starting at 8:30 a.m. There will be no drop-off locations at Sagamore Hill, and no general entry into the site’s parking lot aside from handicap access. While Sagamore Hill retains its dog-friendly policy, for the safety of all of the events visitors, pets will not be permitted on shuttles or on the grounds the day of the event, however, service animals are welcome.
Theodore Roosevelt was instrumental to modern conservation and in establishing our federal public lands. The reopening of his revitalized home at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site will be an event well-suited to lead the National Park Service into its second century of stewardship in 2016. Join us for this exciting milestone in the continued protection and preservation of the Theodore Roosevelt House and help celebrate its reopening to the public.