Field Study Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthplace

FieldStudy: Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthplace

FieldStudy: Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthplace

Countriescommemorate their heroes in different, which include the erection ofstatues or naming infrastructural projects after the heroes. In thecase, of the United States, the preservation and reconstruction ofhis birthplace was the most appropriate way to commemorate TheodoreRoosevelt. Roosevelt’s Birthplace Building situated in New YorkCity serves as a commemoration of the American 26th president. Itreminds the American about the president who managed to stage hiscountry on the world’s stage and championed for the preservation ofthe nation’s natural as well as historic resources. The appealingblock is situated in the East 20th street and between the south ofPark Avenue and Broadway in the neighborhood of Manhattan (Amato,2014). This paper will describe the birthplace and the neighborhood,link Roosevelt’s early experiences with later achievements, thehistory of the house since the Roosevelt family started living in it,and the significance of the house and the reasons it should bereborn.

Descriptionof the birthplace during Roosevelt’s childhood

TheodoreRoosevelt was born in a rich family that has the financial capacityto buy or build houses that could only be owned by the rich class ofthe time. Towards the mid 1800s, the birthplace was constructed atBroadway, which was a block extending from the 13th-14th street(National Park Service, 2014). This was a fashionable mansion thatwas made of brownstones, which gave a similar architectural style toother priced buildings in the neighborhood. The architecture of thebirthplace used the Romantic movements of the early 1800s thatensured that the building copied the nature. This marked a return ofnature in the field of architecture in the New York City. The brownsandstone and the brownstone were the basic building materials forthe birthplace because their special characteristics, which includethe ease of carving and warm color. This building was constructed in1848 and bought the Roosevelt family in the year 1854, about fouryears before the birth of Theodore Roosevelt in section number 28(National Park Service, 2014).

Thebrownstone layout followed a specific pattern where a tall stoop ledto the door in the front. The front door opened to the second floor,which was a long and narrow hall designed with a dining place at therear, parlor at the front, bedrooms in the upstairs, servant quartersand the kitchen on the ground floor. Theodore Roosevelt lived in thisbrownstone starting from his birth to the age of 14 years. There wereno significant changes made to the brownstone building and itssimilar neighborhood during the first Roosevelt’s childhood.However, some sections of the neighborhood were converted fromresidential to commercial places between the late 1860s and the early1870s (National Park Service, 2014). This forced the Roosevelt familyto leave the brownstone birthplace building to another house in theWest 57th street. The birthplace was sold soon after the movement ofthe house.

Linkbetween childhood experiences and later success

TheodoreRoosevelt was nicknamed Teddy during his childhood. He was a sickly,but a bright boy born in a wealthy family. As the boy grew, he becameaware of his sickness and took a courageous move to address his poorhealth. Teddy suffered from asthma, but members of his family weresupportive (Spear, 2013). Teddy started a physical exercise programin an outdoor gymnasium, which made a significant contributiontowards the improvement of his health. Roosevelt’s father was quiteinstrumental in shaping his character and the way he interacted withother people right from childhood. Roosevelt acknowledged that hisfather was the best person he ever met in his life. He described himas a gentleman who was able to combine gentleness and courage andcould not condone cruelty, cowardice, selfishness, and untruthfulnessamong his children (Bickers &amp Widger, 2012). Although Rooseveltwas born sickly, the support he got from the family prepared him forhis life during adulthood.

Thesuccess that Roosevelt achieved in his personal as well as careerlife was a clear reflection of his childhood experiences. There arethree major factors that prove the link between his childhoodexperiences and his later successes. First, the decision to undergo agymnasium program prepared Roosevelt for a lifelong fervor for astrenuous life (Fletcher, 2013). This means that Roosevelt’sdecision to use the strenuous exercise to enhance his healthincreased his capacity to face challenges, especially in hispolitical career. Secondly, the fact that Roosevelt was born in awealthy family that believed in capitalism as an opportunity for himto spread the concept of wealth creation in the country. For example,Roosevelt pushed for the formulation of the Hepburn Act that gave thegovernment an opportunity to reduce over-concentration of wealth inthe hand of a few families (Yarbrough, 2014). This is an element ofselfishness that Roosevelt gained from his father. Third, Rooseveltdemonstrated the courage he gained during the childhood when heopposed the concept of industrial capitalism. He achieved this bypushing for an increase in the government’s control over businessand various aspects of the national economy (Yarbrough, 2014).Therefore, Roosevelt’s childhood experiences played a significantrole in determining his future success.

Historyof the house to the election of Franklin Roosevelt

Nearlyall houses, including Roosevelt’s birthplace in the State of NewYork were made of brownstone and used a similar block style. Franklinwas Theodore’s fifth cousin who was first elected as a senator forthe state of New York in 1911 (Spear, 2013). Roosevelt’s birthplaceremained intact from the time the family moved into the house in1854. The house was fitted with furniture that was unique to Teddy’sfamily, which include the velvet chairs that was specifically madefor Roosevelt, who was allergic to horse-hair chairs. Slight changeswere made to the birthplace shortly after it was sold in 1873. Forexample, the new owners added some bay windows to the brownstonehouse in 1896, when it was converted into a store (National ParkService, 2014).

Althoughthe birthplace house retained the same style for many decades, theneighborhood as well as the infrastructure in the entire city of NewYork was changing rapidly as a result of a high rate of growth ineconomic activities. There are no significant changes that have beendocumented from the time Roosevelt’s family moved out to the timeFranklin was first elected the senator a few years before itsdemolition in 1916 (National Park Service, 2014). The increase in therate commercial activities in areas that were initially considered tobe residential began in the late 1870s and proceeded to the time ofFranklin’s election. The residential areas were categorized as thecity outskirts in the early 1800s when families, especially the richones constructed their residential houses. However, the rapiddevelopment in the New York City pushed them further from the city’scommercial areas.

Thesignificance of Theodore Roosevelt

TheodoreRoosevelt is recognized as the U.S. presidents who created a platformfor the contemporary America, which indicates his significance in thehistory of America. This can be proven by different facts, but two ofthem are more significant. First, significant economic policies andlegislation (such as the Hepburn Act) were enacted during Roosevelt’spresidency (Yarbrough, 2014). These policies and legislationregulated the rate of growth of industrial capitalism, which resultedin a fair distribution of resources. Secondly, Roosevelt establisheda strong military to defend the country. For example, Rooseveltbelieved that an established navy was critical to the nationaldefense (Miller Center, 2014). The fact that Roosevelt was the onlyAmerican president who shaped the modern United States justifies thereborn of his birthplace.


Roosevelt’sbirthplace reminds Americans about the life of the 26th president whocreated a platform the modern nation. The birthplace was made ofbrownstones using the Romantic architecture of the early 1800s.Roosevelt underwent tough childhood experiences (including thesickness), but he was able to succeed in later life following thesupport of the family, physical exercise, and father’s guidance.These factors contributed towards his success in both the personal aswell as his career life. The birthplace remained intact duringRoosevelt’s childhood, but a few changes were made soon after itwas sold. Although the birthplace was meant for residency, theincrease in the commercial activities in its neighborhood forced theRoosevelt family to vacate. The fact that Roosevelt made significantcontributions towards the development of the United States justifiesthe reborn of his birthplace.


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Fletcher,T. (2013). Theodore Roosevelt. NewYork Architecture.Retrieved December 11, 2014, from

MillerCenter (2014). AmericanPresident: A reference resource.Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia.

NationalPark Service (2014). The Brownstone townhouse of Theodore Roosevelt.NationalPark Service.Retrieved December 11, 2014, from

Spear,J. (2013). The Rooseveltfamily’s house of New York City.New York, NY: Untapped Cities, LLC.

Yarbrough,M. (2014). TheodoreRoosevelt: Progressive crusader.Washington, DC: The Heritage Foundation.