Warm Springs Historic District

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Warm Springs Historic District
USA-Georgia-Warm Springs-Roosevelt's Little White House.JPG
Warm Springs Historic District is located in Georgia (U.S. state)
Warm Springs Historic District
Location S of GA 194 and W of GA 85W, Warm Springs, Georgia
Coordinates 32°52′51″N 84°41′7″W / 32.88083°N 84.68528°W / 32.88083; -84.68528Coordinates: 32°52′51″N 84°41′7″W / 32.88083°N 84.68528°W / 32.88083; -84.68528
Built 1924
Architect Henry Toombs; Et al.
Architectural style Colonial Revival
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 74000694
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 30, 1974[1]
Designated NHLD January 16, 1980[2]

Warm Springs Historic District is a historic district in Warm Springs, Georgia. It includes Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Little White House and the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, where Roosevelt indulged in its warm springs. Other buildings in the district tend to range from the 1920s and 1930s. Much of the district looks the same as it did when Roosevelt frequented the area.[3]

Evidence indicates that prehistoric man was the first to use the springs, and as when Roosevelt used the springs, the temperature was 89 °F (32 °C).[3]

Residents of Savannah, Georgia, began spending vacations at Bullochville in the late 18th century as a way to escape yellow fever, finding the number of warm springs in the vicinity of Bullochville very attractive. In the 1880s and 1890s, traveling to the warm springs was attractive as a way to get away from Atlanta, and many more prosperous Southerners would vacation there. Traveling by railroad to Durand, they would then go to Bullochville. One of the places benefitting from this was the Meriwether Inn. Once the automobile became popular in the early 20th century, the tourists began going elsewhere, starting the decline of the Meriwether Inn.[4][3]

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first time in Warm Springs was October 1924. He went to a resort in the town whose attraction was a permanent 88-degree natural spring, but whose main house, the Meriwether Inn, was described as "ramshackle". Roosevelt bought the resort and the 1,700-acre (6.9 km2) farm surrounding it in 1927. It was around this time that Bullochville was renamed Warm Springs. Roosevelt traveled to the area frequently, including sixteen times while he was President of the United States, and he died in the district on April 12, 1945, at his Little White House, which he had built in 1932.[5]

He founded the Institute after hearing about a boy who had regained the use of his legs, through a treatment known as hydrotherapy, which involves the use of water for soothing pains and treating diseases. The operations of the Institute were paid for by the Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which later became the March of Dimes. The Warm Springs Institute currently treats about 5,000 patients every year. While the original historic pools are not generally open to the public, the Little White House / DNR opens the waters once a year to the public on Labor day weekend. They allow four groups of people in a day for a one and a half hour swim.[6]

Georgia Hall, the main building of the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute

The main building of the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute is Georgia Hall, built in 1933 to replace the old Meriwether Inn, which was torn down as it was too dilapidated to successfully renovate to then-modern conditions. Roosevelt often hosted Thanksgiving dinners in its dining hall for those who were using the Springs. For much of its existence, the institute was the only such facility "exclusively devoted" to polio patients.[3]

In 2005 the Warm Springs Institute was featured in the television movie Warm Springs, which details FDR's struggle with his paralytic illness, his discovery of the Georgia spa resort, his work to turn it into a center for the aid of polio victims, and the subsequent resumption of his political career.

A peer-reviewed study in 2003 reasoned that Roosevelt's paralytic illness was more likely actually Guillain-Barré syndrome, not polio. [7]

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1980.[2][3]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Warm Springs Historic District". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d e James H. Charleton (April 10, 1979). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Warm Springs Historic District" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 13 photos, exterior and interior, from 1974, 1979, and undated PDF (32 KB)
  4. ^ Georgia State Parks - History
  5. ^ Walsh, Kenneth T. From Mount Vernon to Crawford (Hyperion, 2005) p.96,97
  6. ^ Dewan, Shailia (April 30, 2005). "A Long-Ago Refuge Still Tends to the Needs of Polio Survivors". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  7. ^ Goldman, AS et al., What was the cause of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's paralytic illness?. J Med Biogr. 11: 232-240 (2003)

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