Thursday, August 11, 2011

FDR Cottage in Warm Springs, GA Burns

On Tuesday, we lost a vital piece of history.  McCarthy Cottage at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilition burned - possibly as the result of an electrical storm. (Please note that nearby the Little White House is still standing!)

In 1924, Franklin D. Roosevelt went to Warm Springs GA (they called it Bullochville) in those days, seeking a cure for the paralysis caused by polio.  What he found was a dilapidated resort, a simple way of life, and plenty of southern hospitality.
When this newspaper article in The Atlanta Journal hit the wires, polios from around the country began coming to Warm Springs.  Roosevelt's dream of a rehabiliation center became a reality much sooner than he imagined. 

The dilapidated resort consisted of pools fed by warm mineral water, various cottages, and a large victorian hotel known as Meriwether Inn.  Roosevelt viewed the inn as a firetrap.  In 1927 McCarthy cottage was built and he stayed there instead. McCarthy Cottage became his Georgia home until he built the Little White House in 1932.

Roosevelt loved the resort so much that he bought it and changed it's entire mission.  It would no longer be a resort but rather a place for children and adults affected by polio to find comraderie, to rehabilitate, and to get their lives back.

That's what Ann Fay Honeycutt did in COMFORT, the sequel to BLUE. 

As a fictional character, Ann Fay represents the many real individuals whose lives were changed at Warm Springs. They arrived in various stages of despair and hope and found others who shared their pain.  They discovered friends, lovers, and role models. They followed Roosevelt's example and went on to live productive lives. 

One small and yet very important piece of history burned to the ground this week but no fire can destroy the happy results of Roosevelt's dreaming and his gift to children and adults who had had polio.

You can view an image of McCarthy Cottage at Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative and read about the fire here.


  1. DUring my CPCC class I told the students how you had gone there for research. And when I was looking through more microfilm at the library this week I saw more articles about polio. (FOund the most about Korea, not what I was looking for though!) Oh well.
    Glad you got to visit here. Lovely blog. I hear your voice, Joyce!

  2. Polio was definitely a big theme of the era. Am finding it in other YA lit too.

    Thanks for the feedback, Carol.

  3. Joyce, What a great human interest story about FDR and the setting of your book, COMFORT. So sad about the fire, but your book keeps it more alive than the building ever could!

  4. Ah thank you Clara. I do hope COMFORT keeps that piece of history alive for people!

  5. Joyce, I loved BLUE and didn't know it had a sequel. I'll be getting hold of that! :)

  6. Hi Marsha, Thanks for coming by. I hope you enjoy Blue's sequel.

  7. Oh, Marcia, I am SORRY I spelled your name wrong! And I love how you include the pronunciation on your own blog!