CEREMONIES commemorating the 35th anniversary of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt will be held Saturday at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Ga., following recent developments that bring new status to the historic area.
Earlier this year Warm Springs was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Interior Department, a move described by Rep. Jack Brinkley (D-Ga.) as " a steppingstone to a living memorial to President Roosevelt."
Later, Gov. George Busbee and Georgia Warm Springs Foundation chairman James Roosevelt hammered out an agreement to convert the Warm Springs hospital complex into a Warm Springs Rehabilitation Institute. That ended the possibility of the hospital where FDR was treated for polio being forced to close because of lack of patients and outdated facilities. Vaccines have made new cases of polio a rarity. The springs are capped, the three pools cracked and empty.
The modest Little White House and the museum adjoining the property, located 70 miles from Atlanta on U.S. 27A and Georgia 85W, are one of the state's major tourist attractions. At Warm Springs the crippled Roosevelt taught fellow cure-seekers to swim; there he would rendezvous with one of his two lovers, Lucy Mercer; and there, on April 12, 1945, as World War II continued, he was fatally stricken by a massive cerebral hemorrhage while posing for a portrait. The portrait is now displayed in the dining area of the cottage.
But some who visit the cottage have never heard of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the AP's Hugh A. Mulligan reported, quoting a guide: "some of the young ones, high school age, have to be told who he was and what he did for this country and the poor people and the burdens of war he had to bear."
At Warm Springs, "there were no standing ovations" for FDR, wrote author Jim Bishop. "Few of his friends could stand."
Now the hospital complex, situated a few miles from the Little White House, will be merged with the independently operated rehabilitation center that treats hundreds of handicapped patients annually. The hospital will be updated. There have also been proposals to enlarge the Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park and provide special accommodations for the handicapped.