Memorials are physical links of the past and the present, allowing us to remember and pay tribute to influential persons or historical events. Moreover, they serve as valuable sources of information, challenging our thoughts and curiosity, helping us to get a better level of understanding in the process, and making us appreciate all the memoirs associated with them.
The question is: Are there Theodore Roosevelt Memorials?
TR was known for his progressive movements, support for public interest amidst issues between laborers and big businesses, breaking of trusts, railroads regulation, playing a big role in world politics, and steering the construction of the Panama Canal. A true conservationist, Roosevelt also set aside 200 million acres of wildlife refuges, national parks, and reserves, adding to his many achievements during his term.
Like the Johnny Cash Museum, Lincoln Memorial, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, it’s no surprise many memorials have been devoted to another revered individual like the 26th President of the United States Here, let’s discover some of the iconic Theodore Roosevelt memorials, all made to preserve his accomplishments and legacy.
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Situated at 28 East 20th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway, in Manhattan, New York City, the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site is a replica of Teddy’s birthplace and childhood home.
The original house was constructed in 1848 and was bought by the Roosevelts six years later. On October 27, 1858, TR was born at the site and lived there with his family until 1872. The neighborhood commercialization caused the family to move uptown to 57th Street.
Eventually, their house was torn down in 1916 to be converted into commercial. Upon the death of Teddy in 1919 at the age of 60, the Women’s Roosevelt Memorial Association, an organization established by an act of from New York State Assembly, purchased the lot of the original building.
From there, the replica of the house was rebuilt with female architect Theodate Pope Riddle being at the helm of the construction. Riddle was also tasked to design the museum located beside the house to complete the historic site. In 1923, the house was rededicated featuring five restored period rooms, which information about the appearance and furnishings were supplied by the TR’s widow, Edith, and his two sisters.
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
Sagamore Hill is an important landmark as it served as Theodore Roosevelt’s home and “Summer White House” from 1885 to his last years before his death in 1919. The stunning 23-room Queen Anne shingle-style mansion has witnessed many historic events from 1902 to 1908, such as the arrival of notable foreign representatives and countless negotiations, which led to TR’s vital role in the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905.
Today, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site spans 83 acres, which includes other historic farm buildings, a museum, a visitor’s center, a trail, a wildlife refuge composed of forests, woodlands, meadows, tidal salt marsh, and a beach, enlivening one of the biggest legacies of the renowned outdoorsman and conservationist.
Theodore Roosevelt Island
The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association purchased the then-called Mason’s Island from a gas company, aiming to convert its jilted, overgrown farmland into a memorial for the 26th president. On May 21, 1932, the U.S. Congress authorized the erection of a memorial but didn’t allocate any funds for the projects.
It was after nearly three decades in 1960 when Congress finally appropriated funds for the memorial. On October 15, 1966, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was dedicated more than a year later, on October 27, 1967.
Architects designed it to mimic the natural forest that once sprawled in the islands. Today, it consists of nature trails traversing swampy bottomlands and wooded uplands, again honoring TR’s innate love for nature conversation.
Major parts of the memorial in the 88.5-acre island include a 17-foot statue of Theodore Roosevelt made by American sculptor Paul Manship, two large fountains, and four massive monoliths that contain some of TR’s most popular quotations.
Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider
Not known by many, Theodore Roosevelt became an Assistant Secretary of the Navy prior to becoming a President of the United States. In 1898, however, he resigned from his position in the Navy to establish the “Rough Riders.
It was a group of U.S. cavalry volunteers recruited and led by TR, which included college athletes, miners, law enforcement personnel, and cowboys among many more others. They became popular with their vibrant and unconventional undertakings during the Spanish-American War.
After Roosevelt’s death, the equestrian statue was commissioned to depict Roosevelt’s role as the leader of the cavalry regiment. Made by American sculptor Alexander Phimister Proctor, the bronze statue was completed in 1922. It was cast in Brooklyn, New York, and was donated to Portland, Oregon by Henry Waldo Coe, Roosevelt’s friend and hunting partner.
Located in the city’s South Park Blocks, the statue stands 12 feet, atop a base that measures nearly 8 feet. In an unfortunate event, a group of protesters toppled the equestrian statue, along with two other presidential statues, amidst the Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage in October 2020. The future of the monuments is still undecided.
Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt
The Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt is a bronze sculpture commissioned in the 1930s. It was designed by James Earle Fraser, completed in 1939, and dedicated on October 27, 1940. The statue presents TR on horseback, with two men walking beside him. On one side is a sub-Saharan African, while a native American man is situated on the other side.
Standing nearly eight decades at the American Museum of Natural History since 1940, the statue sparked criticisms due to the hierarchical representations it conveyed. Calls for the removal of the statue arose at the start of 2017. On June 21, 2021, the NYC Public Design Commission voted unanimously to relocate the statue.
On January 20, 2022, the Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt was removed from the museum. On November 19 the same year, Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation, slated to open in 2026 in Medora, North Dakota, already announced to accept the statue, citing that the library will be a perfect venue to reconceptualize and facilitate a complex and meaningful discussion about the statue’s implications.
These memorials remind us of the great Theodore Roosevelt and act as triumphant portrayals of all his accomplishments. While some may be controversial or have gone through unfortunate events, no one can contest the 26th president’s incredible contributions to the United States and its history.