Photographer's Note

Roosevelt Campobello International Park
A Canadian island with an Italian-sounding name on which an American president spent his summers? These little mysteries are not at all as difficult to solve as one might suppose.

Campobello Island is officially part of Canada, even though the major access road comes from Lubec ME. (You must pass through customs & immigration.) And the "Italian" name is nothing more than the name of a former Nova Scotian governor, William Campbell, with two "o's" added for exotic flavor.

When the island was granted to Captain William Owen by Governor Campbell in 1767, it was still part of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. (The province of New Brunswick was not formed until 1784, when large numbers of United Empire Loyalists fled New England to live in King George III's still-loyal dominions to the north.)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's father, James, bought some land on the island in 1883, at a time when lots of important city people were building enormous "summer cottages" at Bar Harbor, Passamaquoddy Bay, and other northern coastal locations. Young Franklin—to solve that last little mystery—came here long before he was President of the United States, and spent many a teenaged summer rowing, paddling, and sailing on the waters, and hiking through the woods.

In 1920 FDR ran for the vice-presidency—and lost. Taking on a banking job instead, he looked forward to a relaxing summer at Campobello in 1921. On August 10 of that year, the first signs of illness showed, and two weeks later the doctors diagnosed his crippling disease as polio. When he left the island in September, he had no way of knowing that the few more times he would see the summer cottage and his Campobello friends would be brief weekend visits—as President of the United States.

The day-to-day lives of the great and powerful are fascinating to explore in detail, and a visit to the Roosevelt house on Campobello Island gives one a peek at the early years of this courageous man who went on to become governor of New York and President of the United States after having been crippled by polio.

It is no less intriguing to see how a well-to-do family spent its summers at the turn of the century, with long and leisurely days filled by sports, games, and family fun. Servants saw to the chores, and even they must have enjoyed getting away from the city to such a beautiful spot.

The Roosevelt Cottage is now part of Roosevelt Campobello International Park, a joint American-Canadian effort open the Saturday prior to Memorial Day through Columbus Day from 9am to 5pm Eastern Standard Time.

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Additional Photos by Tom O'Donnell (gunbud) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 5926 W: 8 N: 8034] (34066)
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