FDR at the Little White House

Harry Truman once was quoted as saying, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” We at the Little White House phrased it as “History is a process of discovery.” It seems we are always learning some long forgotten fact and discovering a “new” story that has relevance to the Little White House.

FDR in Key West on fishing trip
Larooco Captain Morris, his wife, unidentified crew & FDR March 21,1926.

Larooco Captain Morris, his wife, unidentified crew & FDR March 21,1926.

Recently, we were delighted to read the ship’s log of the Larooco. In August 1921, Roosevelt had been stricken with poliomyelitis. He became an early proponent for hydrotherapy and believed the clear salt water and warm sunshine of the Florida Keys had recuperative effects. He rented a houseboat in February and March of 1923 and was convinced of the positive results. “I have been swimming four times and it goes better and better. I am sure this warmth and exercise is doing lots of good.” (March 5, 1924)

In the winter of 1924, he purchased a houseboat with long time friend John Lawrence that they renamed the Larooco. The winters of 1924, 1925, and 1926 were spent relaxing, fishing, swimming and soaking up the sun. “In a few minutes I landed a fine kingfish, about 12 pounds, then (Miss LeHand) got a grouper, next a very big 7 pound snapper – then we ended up with two jacks, another big grouper, another snapper and two Spanish mackerel,” wrote Roosevelt. (April 6, 1924)

FDR Larooco Flyer
The cover of the ship's log of the Larooco.

A new free exhibit on Franklin Delano Roosevelt has opened at the Little White House and will remain until February 28, 2010. Anna and James Roosevelt, grandchildren of President Roosevelt, will participate in a fundraiser dinner to benefit the Little White House with Clifton Truman Daniel in February, 2010. Please plan to visit and learn the “new” story about Franklin Roosevelt in the Florida Keys.

All photos are from the Franklin D Roosevelt Museum & Library of Hyde Park, NY and contained in the current FDR in the Florida Keys exhibit at the Little White House.

FDR in Key West on boat
FDR fishing – no date – FDR loved to fish and spent winters of 1923, 1924, 1925 and 1926. He was constantly fishing and even said he got a blister from the line taking off with no brake on his reel.
FDR in Key West with big fish
FDR with 500 lb – 7 ft long jewfish his son Elliot caught March 21, 1926 at Jewfish Creek area
FDR in ocean, Key West
Soaking up sun in the very shallow water off Long Key Fishing Camp.
Fishing boat in Key West
The houseboat Larooco owned by FDR & friend John Lawrence in 1924, 1925, & 1926.

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