Buried: Hyde Park, New York
Died: April 12, 1945
See him: FDR is one of several presidents who came full circle – that is, they were buried on the same grounds on which they were born. Roosevelt’s parents owned and lived in the Hyde Park home known as Springwood when little Franklin was born (although he weighed in at over ten pounds at birth, so maybe not so “little”), and, aside from time spent at school or in the White House, FDR there his entire life. Technically it was not his house until 1941 – his mother, the feisty Sara Delano, was still head of household until her death at age 86 – but he got mum’s permission to build a third story and wings on each side of the house, and got her assent to deed the property over to the government as part of the first official presidential library.
The sprawling property also includes a museum and several other houses – Val-Kil was Eleanor’s house, built so that she could get a little space away from the mother-in-law, and Top Cottage was FDR’s own little place to get (very slightly) away from it all. Most of this was unavailable during my visit in April 2013 – the museum is undergoing a complete overhaul, while sequestration has reportedly prompted the National Park Service to close some of the other houses to visitors. If you’re coming for the graves, though, you’re still good to go; the big white tomb, designed by FDR himself, is in the middle of the property, surrounded by a field of roses – because “Roosevett” means “field of roses” in Dutch. Look just beyond the tomb for a small white sundial; just below are even smaller white markers denoting where two of the Roosevelts’ dogs are buried. (Yes, Fala is one of them.)
Also see: The FDR Memorial in Washington DC is really special – an open air memorial full of water features and stirring quotes. It’s on the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial, so it takes a little effort to get to it, but it’s worth it.