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.
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)
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.