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  American HistoryUnited States: General History and DescriptionEarly 20th Century, 1901-1960Theodore Roosevelt's Administration, 1901-1909Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt BirthplaceTheodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site

28 East 20th Street, New York, New York

Theodore Roosevelt was born in a four-story brownstone in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan on October 27, 1858, and lived there until he was 14 years old, when the family moved to 6 West 57th.

By the 1890's, the 20th Street brownstone facades were vanishing. In 1898, the Roosevelt family, who still owned 26 East 20th, put in a four-story trapezoidal storefront. Theodore Roosevelt had by then become a national hero thanks to his service as a Rough Rider during the Spanish-American War. His fame grew when he became President upon the assassination of William McKinley on September 14, 1901.

On October 27, 1905, a group of admirers operating as the "Roosevelt Home Club" celebrated the president's 47th birthday with a dinner in the house, although all they could get was a back room on an upper floor. In December of that year the group bought the building, with the intention of preserving it for posterity. The group was unable to maintain its ownership, however, and in 1916 the home was demolished and replaced by a two-story cafe. The man who demolished the structure offered to let the former President retrive any architectural elements he wanted from his boyhood home, but Roosevelt declined.

Roosevelt died in January 1919, and that spring the Women's Roosevelt Memorial Association bought both 28 and 26 East 20th Street, the latter having once been the home of Robert Roosevelt, the late President's uncle. Although the Robert Roosevelt had been a duplicate of the late President's birthplace and was still fairly intact and original, the Memorial Association's architect, Theodate Pope Riddle, chose to demolish it in favor of a rather plain structure to be used as a museum. Riddle then had as near a replica of number 28 built, using the memories of surviving members as a guide. The replica was dedicated in October 1923, deeded to the National Park Service in 1963, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site contains five fully furnished period rooms that offer insight into what life was like for a wealthy New York family in the 1860's. Approximately half of the objects and furnishings are from the original Roosevelt family residence, the remainder are of the period. The collections illustrate Roosevelt's early family life, as well as his late military and political career. Taxidermy specimens and volumes from his library demonstrate his keen interest in hunting and exploration.

National Park Service

Spanish-American War
William McKinley

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This page was last updated on April 28, 2016.

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