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Inquiry Question

Historical Context

Map 2




Table of

Locating the Site

Map 1: New York State and surrounding region.[Map 1] with link to larger version of map.
(National Park Service)

Olin Dows, a Roosevelt family friend and neighbor described the Hyde Park area:

The actual country concerned is an oblong piece of flat, rolling and wooded farmland, lying on the east bank of the Hudson River. It starts at Fishkill, about fifty-five miles north of New York City, and extends forth miles along the river. It stretches inland twenty-five miles. The River is a leading character in this narrative.... Since the earliest days it has been an integral part of our life. The Hudson, and the Catskill Mountains in the background, makes our landscape distinctive.

The families which live on the river estates are called locally "the River families." Many of them, including the Roosevelts and ourselves, are descendants of the Beekmans and the Livingstons. These two families were among the forty which, between 1685 and 1781, received a dozen patents from the British Crown for the land which is now Dutchess County.¹

Questions for Map 1

1. Find the Home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic Site (Springwood) and describe its location.

2. What details about the geography of Hyde Park can you learn from Olin Dows' descriptive word picture? How does it add to the information you can learn from Map 1? What can you learn about the area's residents from Dows' description?

3. Springwood is located approximately halfway between what two cities? In what ways could the midway location have been an advantage to Franklin D. Roosevelt during his early political career? In what ways could it have been a disadvantage?

¹Olin Dows, Franklin Roosevelt at Hyde Park (New York: American Artists Group, Inc., 1949), Introduction.

* The map on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of Map 1, but be aware that the file may take as much as 27 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.



Comments or Questions

National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.