Val-Kill Cottage, the simple, two-story stone structure located within the Roosevelt family property at Hyde Park, served as Eleanor Roosevelt's home for the last 17 years of her life. With the death of President Roosevelt in 1945, Eleanor moved permanently to Val-Kill, viewing it as her personal residence and making it the only home the former First Lady ever owned. Eleanor once described Val-Kill and its pastoral surroundings as the place "I used to find myself and grow" and where "I emerged as an individual". During Mrs. Roosevelt's residency from 1945 to 1962, a visitor to Val-Kill might have found Mrs. Roosevelt engaged in any number of activities, from hosting Winston Churchill to reading stories to the groups of neglected children who visited Val-Kill every summer. The years following her husband's death, Eleanor Roosevelt emerged as a world figure, beginning with her appointment as American ambassador to the United Nations in 1946 and her work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written chiefly in the solitude provided at Val-Kill. Her humanitarian activities took her around the globe, often touring nations to promote American concepts of justice, freedom and opportunity. Her pursuit of these ideals led President Harry Truman to identify her as the "First Lady of the World." Today, Val-Kill is a significant part of the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, NY.
The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site is located in Hyde Park, NY. Val-Kill Cottage is open to the public daily from 9am to 5pm, May through October. November to April, Val-Kill Cottage is open Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 5pm. Call 914-229-9115 or click here for more information.
The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.