Category: New York Expedition 2010


David McCullough’s The Great Bridge, chronicles the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.  McCullough gives several reasons as to why the bridge is historically significant and showcased late 19th century technology.  John Roebling, designer and engineer of the bridge, along with his son Washington Roebling created the masterpiece that is a symbol of Brooklyn and America.  Technology, commerce, and politics all played a role in this colossal undertaking in American history.

John Roebling, a German immigrant and engineer, had successfully overseen the creation of several suspension aqueducts in Pennsylvania.  Through this work, he developed his unique technique of attaching cables to iron eyebars embedded in masonry, that “he would use in every bridge he built thereafter.”  Going wire by wire, the cables were strung in place, very similar to how his future bridges would be.  (p. 50).  The Allegheny River Bridge was the first to use his idea in which “…. cables had been spun on the bridge itself by a traveling wheel that went back and forth, stringing the wire over the towers, from shore to shore…”(p. 65) This idea was what he planned to use in building the bridge over the East River.  The Niagara Bridge, “…the first truly modern suspension bridge…. was where … Roebling had demonstrated…that the principles of suspension could be applied with perfect safety even to something so heavy as a locomotive and railroad, and…. had a profound effect of the whole evolution of bridge designs.”  (p. 74) The stays, which created a gigantic web, came down from the suspenders, connecting cables to the roadway.  “Every diagonal stay, …formed the hypotenuse of a right triangle…. and thus provided tremendous stability….” (p. 67)

William Roebling, after leaving service in the Civil War, joined his father in 1859 and helped complete the Cincinnati Bridge.  Afterwards, John sent William and his wife, Emily, to travel extensively through Europe learning about iron works, metallurgy developments -especially the new Bessemer steel process, the wire-making process, and pneumatic caissons.  William had a brilliant memory and wrote extensive and detailed letters to his father about all of the technical processes he was learning about and being exposed to.  William and his knowledge base became an important part of the design process that his father John incorporated into his plans and schematics.   The Brooklyn Bridge was to be the largest suspension bridge in the world, lengthwise and width wise. The bridge needed to be constructed in such a manner that water traffic below would not be constricted.   John died from complications of lockjaw, due to an accident that caught his foot and crushed his toes, which had to be amputated.  At this point, William took over Chief Engineer duties.  William said later in life, he was “the only living man who had practical experience to build those great cables,” had studied pneumatic foundations and caissons, was not afraid of the 106′ below water level, and he had had assisted in his father’s design and “was therefore familiar with his ideas and the with whole project – and no one else was.” (p. 100).  As such, William took over command of building the Brooklyn Bridge.

Commerce and profit were huge factors behind the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.  New York was filled with politicians and businessmen who understood the value of the bridge in pure monetary consideration.  Current traffic on the ferries were making upwards of one thousand trips per day, full of passengers who spent the good part of the day on the ferry.   Wintertime could see the ferries closed in by ice, making travel downright impossible, and stranding passengers on either side.  Brooklyn, in the 19th century had a busier seaport, better schools, lower taxes and cheaper gas rates than New York, and the local government was thought to be honest.  At the time, Brooklyn was the third largest city in the United States.  It was just logical that Brooklyn and New York be connected by the greatest engineering feat of the time.

Technology at the end of the 19th century was beginning to boom.  Electricity was being unveiled at the 1892 World’s Fair in Chicago.  Alexander Graham Bell and his predecessors were playing with the forerunner to the telephone.  The “iron horse” was crisscrossing the growing, young country.  The use of pneumatic caissons and its related technology was put into use for the first time in the United States.  One caisson was almost 17, 000 square feet, and the other one was not much smaller (p. 189).  The bridge utilized the up and coming Bessemer steel process; a material that would give rise to New York’s skyline – skyscrapers.  Medicine would benefit from the construction of the bridge due to the “caisson disease”, or “the bends” from being down at deep levels with compressed air.  Dr. Andrew H. Smith presented suggestions for future projects of the same nature in his 1873 report to the New York Bridge Company.  “The concept of the apparatus described by Smith…. is precisely the same as the so-called “hospital lock” used for modern bridge and tunnel construction, whenever men are working compressed air.” (p. 322)

A great deal of the early work was primarily constructed under water and under ground.  The citizens of the area were not able to see anything changing, and questioned how money was being spent and wondering if anything was actually happening.   Visual proof to the public about the construction would take longer than anticipated; putting the job over cost, while many people lost their lives and others became permanently disabled (p. 335, 336).  Yet when the bridge was completed, people in New York City were finally connected in a manner that would allow year-around travel to and fro.

With the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, no longer were people and commerce at the mercy of the elements.  The grand opening of the bridge was celebrated on May 23, 1883, with Emily Roebling being the first person to be officially given a ride across the Brooklyn Bridge; all of the costs, problems, deaths, and tragedy forgotten.  The growth of Brooklyn was destined to happen, as Manhattan was already extremely populated, and the successful completion of the bridge allowed this to freely happen.  The end result was the uniting of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island with Manhattan, creating the Greater New York.  And one of the greatest engineering feats in modern American history was complete.

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This week I have been reflecting on my experiences in New York and how they have affected me and changes I will make in my teaching.  First and foremost, many thanks to our fearless leaders for all of the planning, thought, and coordination that went into this expedition.  The trip went very smoothly; sites and speakers were well thought out and knowledgeable.  I enjoyed this trip much more than my first introduction to NYC twenty years ago and have certainly learned and saw much more than my previous trip.  My only frustration is with iPhoto acting up, and not being able to fully access all of my photos at this point; it was a major hinderance in my blogging and is still not fixed.

The first thing that strikes me is the layering of New York City and the state.  This layering reaches through history, through immigration and ethnicity, through the growth of our country, and through the advent of technology.  NYC is a perfect place for examining the influence that a city has had on our country and on the world.  Many threads were interwoven during our entire trip, as everything was inter-related on some level.  We covered a broad spectrum of American history – the American Revolution, Slavery, Abolitionists, Suffragettes and Women’s Rights, New York City life for the wealthy of the Gilded Age, the middle class, and the poverty-stricken immigrants, the influence that power and politics plays on communities, baseball, two branches of the famous Roosevelt families – Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Theodore and Eleanor Roosevelt, and Ellis Island, just to name a few of our topics.

We were introduced to many wonderful museums, but time did not allow us to delve into them very deeply – breadth, not depth.  But we now know what is available for further trips to New York.  All of the museums have expertly, well done websites, that will allow me to bring a touch of New York into my classes, for student exploration and offer me resources to use for my lessons. Due to the sheer volume of information that was shared  with us, the hard part for me is narrowing down what I want to write my lesson on……women’s rights, slavery, the Eire Canal, immigration, child labor, sweatshops, TR, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, baseball and its affects on African Americans and women.  There are unlimited possibilities but I do know that the resources, knowledge and experiences will be put to use throughout the years in my classroom.

Books, books, and more books…..I was able to get a wide variety of resources that I will be using in my classroom about the American Revolution, immigration, Women’s Rights, and the Underground Railroad.  I’m a sucker for good books and love when I can see them in the context of places that I’m visiting.  I’m excited to start creating some more differentiated lessons for my students because we will begin a clustering concept with our students this next school year which will allow a faster pace with the higher students, as well as creating more interesting PowerPoints for classroom use.  Another goal is to keep incorporating technology and the many websites that were introduced to us into my instruction, via web-quests and research activities.

For me, one of the most powerful parts of the trip was the submersion into NYC life.  Surprisingly, green spaces could be found here and there and I enjoyed wandering through, seeing the vegetation, landscaping, and birds.  Exploring Central Park and the oasis that it offers was heavenly.  I also reflected back to Chicago and the Worlds Fair, imagining the creator of Central Park, Frederick Olmsted, working in Chicago and how it must have been wandering through his creations outside of  the White Palace.  My senses enjoyed all I saw, from the rock work on walls, buildings, bridges, and pathways, to the water features and landscape architecture, to the tile work that was near the lake and the gazebos and bridges that surround it.  My imagination ran away, as I watched people enjoying the park in their chosen method, daydreaming about a different time, with women in their Sunday best, men dressed up and escorting the women on walkways throughout the park. Nannies walking with their charges in tow.  Thinking of people getting out of their sweltering apartments and coming to the park to hear a concert and socialize.

The sheer density of the buildings and people almost need to be experienced in order to understand.  I thought back to E.B. White’s writing about NYC.  I could see the city being a lonely place amidst the millions of people.  From taking the subway, to navigating the crowds, and jockeying for position in various places, the people keep to themselves, reading books or iPads, listening to their iPods, texting, or playing games.  When Donna, Connie, and I were at a store together, we talked to each and to the cashier; a few other people joined into our conversation, as it was apparent were visitors.  I think if we had each been there separately, this dialogue and laughter would not have happened, because people keep to themselves amidst the throngs.  An old friend lives in Harlem and he invited me to a friends house near the African Burial Grounds.  He was on the 14th floor and from his window you could see where the Twin Towers had been.  He recounted his experience of 9/11.  People you encountered in the hallway of his building did not normally greet each other, which I found odd, but I was told that my saying hi to people was taken as a bit odd or invasive.  Overall though, people in the city were helpful and generally friendly, although they did not generally make direct eye contact unless in a one on one situation.  The city runs with a smooth efficiency that can handle the masses.

As we were part of the masses during our walking tours and visits to museums, it was interesting to be part of the movement.  I don’t think the NYC experience would have been as rich, if we had not partaken in Ed O’Donnell’s walking tours.  These tours brought neighborhoods, history, architecture, technology, sociology, and economics into our consciousness, as well as how it is to navigate through the city like hundreds of thousands of people do at any given time.  This expedition was a powerful learning experience for me and will be reflected in my teachings in the classroom and in the making of connections to my students about our history, its people, and its nationhood.

A bittersweet day – the final day of our sightseeing!  As we wind our way through the hills and valleys of upstate New York, en route to Fort Ticonderoga, I’m trying to imagine the soldiers of the Continental Army, walking, riding, and moving artillery through the landscape.  Even now, more than two hundred years later, the land is thick with foliage.  I could not imagine trying to maneuver men and troops through the terrain, as well as dealing with the nature of the climate – freezing cold winters, hot and humid summers.  Rains to bog down any roads with mud.

Today offered a lot of new experiences for me….I finally understood the beauty of upstate New York – the rolling hills, the lush greenness, the rivers and lakes.  I was enthralled by the passing landscapes.  As we were driving in the bus towards Fort Ticonderoga, while “The Patriot” was playing, I was trying to imagine what it was like for the early founders of our country to trek through these lands on foot and by horseback, cutting paths thru the vegetation, trying to navigate the land, bringing back canons taken from the British to be used against them in the American Revolution.  I was pretty floored thinking about how much determination, strength, and will-power it took to accomplish everything that was done to defeat the British and to ultimately survive and thrive in the untamed lands of our fledgling country.

Our guide for the day was Jim Hughto.  Before putting on “The Patriot”, he reminded us that there were many historical inaccuracies in the movie, which he periodically pointed out.  Unfortunately one key thing I’ll remember about today, is that I really do not know many specific details about the American Revolution;  there were many points and topics that I was unfamiliar with, besides the most basic of information.

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As we drove to Saratoga, We could see Vermont on the other side of the river.  We were surrounded by the beauty of the Green Mountains the Adrirondacks, and the oldest mountains in North America, the Taconic Mountains.  The Adirondacks are still a newer mountain range, rising 1/4″ a year.  At Saratoga, Hughto showed us a few areas in the park.  One spot was where the battle that turned the tides for the American Revolution happened.

Today began with a walking tour of China Town, beginning in the former slum of Five Points, which was where three streets intersected.   This area had been called the “foulest slum” and by 1829, blacks, whites, drunks, and prostitutes roamed the area of Five Points.  The worst block was torn down and a park put in its stead (above photo) This park and others were put into neighborhoods so that the lower classes would have a place to socialize and recreate.  Central Park was a fair distance away and had too many “rule” – people could not take off their shirts, play a game of soccer, or get rowdy and boisterous.  Lots of artifacts that had been found in the area were being examined at the World Trade Center and all were destroyed in 2001.  In the 1840’s, Charles Dickens toured this area and it was the backdrop for his book, “American Notes”.  Jacob Riis brought the plight of the immigrant neighborhoods to the light of higher society with his photography of the people, buildings, and the living/working conditions of the immigrants.  Riis said that “Disease is being sewn into the linings of our jackets.”

Katz Deli was where we dined for lunch.  The ambience was quaint.  There were men behind the counter who custom-made the sandwiches.  Your order was taken on antiquated but quaint yellow tickets.  I thought $15 – 17 for a sandwich was on the pricey side, but the food was delicious.  We also got homemade pickles, and if you knew to ask, pickled tomatoes.  The volume of people the deli could cycle through was amazing.  I would recommend this stop for anyone visiting the Lower East Side, as well as a meal in China Town.

The tour of the tenement museum was very fascinating, as the building was built in 1863 and had rooms that were basically preserved, dating back to 1935.  The Tenement Act passed in 1906 that required upgrading buildings for safety concerns but the world-wide depression of the 1030’s saw a decrease in immigration, and the cost of bringing buildings up to code was not cost effective. Seeing how people and families lived in such places was sadly amazing.  The density of the neighborhoods in their heyday must have been immense, busy, nonstop, and very hot or cold depending on the season.  Prior to 1900, families averaged six members while post 1900, the number jumped to 10-12 people living in 325 square feet, comprised of a bedroom, kitchen, and living room.  Electricity did not come to the Lower East Side until 1925, while Wall Street had electricity in 1882.  Water and outhouses were outside of each building until 1905, when indoor water and toilets were put into the tenements, with two toilets located on each of the five floors.  In today’s market, those 325 square feet would rent for approximately $2,000 a month.  The lower an apartment is, the more expensive the rent, while the more stairs to climb, the cheaper the rent.

The Garment District started in the Lower East Side, with its height of operation from 1890-1910.  Entire families would work on orders for the department stores in NYC.  The Civil War brought about the mass production of sizing in small, medium, large, and extra large.  This also saw the decline of custom made clothes and the advent of mass produced clothing for men, women, and children.  “Sweating the system” was a term that meant the pressure came from the top of the business chain, downwards to the workers, in keeping costs low and production high.

The website for the Tenement Museum offers a great array of resources for the classroom.  There is a virtual tour, lesson plans, primary sources, and photographs.  This will be invaluable for teaching about immigration and reform issues.  http://www.tenement.org I cannot wait to begin reading some of the books I bought about the tenements and immigration, as I weave them into lessons for my students.

After the Tenement Museum tour, rain came down, the only day I did not carry my raincoat.  By the end of the afternoon, I was frazzled from avoiding umbrellas that were at the perfect height for running into my eyes and face.  Being wet did not bother me, but dodging the umbrellas caused stress.  I did notice that the use of umbrellas gave people more of their own “space bubble” for being in such crowded environments.  Overall, I found this day to be one of the most interesting, as we walked through neighborhoods and got to see the ethnic layering that had been going on for almost 200 years, and that is still happening today.  The areas we went to gave me first hand information, sights, and sounds to bring back into my classroom.

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Taking the subway from Brooklyn, we disembarked at Aster Place.  I found the beaver on the tile next to the stop’s name “Aster Place”, a fitting tribute to Aster and the beginnings of his wealth.  I learned later that all of the stations had various symbols by the name of each stop, as the pictures made it easier for immigrants who could not read, find their way around the different boroughs.

We journeyed to McSorley’s in order to experience and bring to life the story we had read in Mitchell’s book.  Fortunately, they let women in now and I did not have to don a disguise.  We arrived late on a Sunday night so crowds were not an issue. The bartenders were a bit on the surly side.  The choice of beer was light or dark.  The bar keep carried eight beers without a problem, four in each hand and slammed them down onto the tables.  Perhaps that is part of the reason the glasses are only filled two thirds of the way….give a little splash room for the walk to the tables and the subtle slamming of the glasses.  Each of us found it easier to order two beers at a time for each round.

The interior of McSorley’s was busy.  Many artifacts were all over the walls.  Empty space would have been at a premium, and I’m not sure I spotted any open space.  This mirrors the way that the bar reflects the town….space is at a premium.  The chandelier where the soldiers had sprinkled some dust on, promising to clean it off when they returned, is deeply covered in dust, as the men never returned back to the United States or McSorley’s.  Articles, paintings, signs, and photographs covered the walls.

For those of you who noticed the pictures of the urinals….you might wonder, what the heck??  Well, our esteemed colleague’s family had been in the plumbing business.  He had commented on how old the urinals were and how neat they were to see.  Well, being full of my usual curiosity, I went in to take some photos.  The urinals dated back to 1911 and no, there were no men in there.  You see, after close observation, I noticed the door would not shut itself, so men needed to be cognizant of that fact, and manually shut the door as they entered.  Unfortunately, many did not seem to notice this fact. So it was easy to see when someone was in there or not.

The experience at McSorley’s was positive.  The beer was so-so.  The company was entertaining as were the other customers and the bar staff.  We experienced a historical, social, landmark that has proven itself over time, as it is the second oldest pub in the United States, following one in Boston.  If I was a resident of New York City, I could see becoming a regular there….just not on the weekends when the the throngs of tourists and college students are out, but but rather the off-times.

Today was on a very tight schedule.  After our pre- 7 a.m. bus departure, we landed in Seneca Falls, New York.  Here we visited the site of the first convention for women’s rights at the Wesleyean Church.  The church is undergoing structural remodeling and fortifications.  There were great exhibits in the Park Service Museum.

Afterwards, we visited the house that the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her family lived in, on a hill overlooking some type of canal.  Here she entertained many visitors who were supportive of the suffragette movement.  Susan B. Anthony was a frequent visitor and helped Elizabeth with the family caretaking, so that Elizabeth could have time to focus on her writings.  Next, we visited the M’Clintock House who were supporters and contributors of the suffragette movement.  The biggest realization for me was how brave it was of these women, and the male supporters, to mobilize and vocalize their viewpoints – they were subjected to horrific ridicule.  The idea of women voting, having a voice and rights was very radical for the time and these people risked alienation from their peers.  The Declaration of Women’s Rights was read at the convention in Seneca Falls, with 100 of the 300 attendees signing the declaration.  It took the United States and Congress 72 years, from the date of the first women’s rights convention until 1920, when the 19th Amendment was passed and women finally had the national right to vote.

http://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm

http://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/elizabeth-cady-stanton/

The next stop was at William Seward’s home.  He and his wife dedicated their lives to ending slavery and were ardent supporters of the underground railroad, allowing their house to be stop on the route to freedom.  Seward’s house was filled with amazing artifacts.  In the parlour, there was a marble table with a Roman seal on it, which dated to approximately 147 B.C.  His house had many artifacts that were given to him by heads of state and other visiting dignitaries.  Sadly, his daughter Fanny died when a young woman from tuberculosis, and a tribute to her and their shared love of books, is found in his study by way of a built in bookcase that housed all of her books.  She aspired to be a writer.  Seward sold Harriet Tubman the property that her house was on.  He was actually fairly revolutionary in his beliefs, while being a US senator and supporter of the abolition of slavery.  His wife Frances, was educated in a Quaker school and was a staunch abolitionist as well.  Both helped many former slaves on their way to freedom.  The museum’s website has some teaching resources to use in the classroom and is also set up to do video-conferencing for classrooms.

http://www.sewardhouse.org/

We then hopped on board the bus and went to the property of Harriet Tubman for a very quick overview of the site.  There were both a brick house that was built between 181-1883, as well as the original clapboard house that she lived in, furnished with many of the original items.

http://www.nyhistory.com/harriettubman/home.htm

After approximately two hours on the bus, we surfaced at Rochester, NY and rode through Lock 32 on the Eire Canal.  This was quite the adventure, to see how the locks worked.  An unbelievable 2.7 million gallons of water flood into the lock to raise it twenty five feet.  The area has been renovated with biking and walking trails, and leisure boats and kayakers use the waterway.  The Eire Canal was built through swamps, cutting a stretch for 363 miles, creating what is known as the Big Loop – from the Hudson to the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.    Rochester, in 1850, had a population of 50,000 and was known as the wild west.  Many abolitionists, temperance supporters, spiritualists, and Shakers hailed from this area.

http://www.eriecanal.org/

http://www.epodunk.com/routes/erie-canal/index.html#

http://www.canals.ny.gov/cculture/history/

All together, the day provided many threads to women’s rights, abolitionists, and the Underground Railroad.  We were introduced to many resources that will provide great classroom tools, in order to make history come more alive to me as a teacher and hopefully this will reach my students.  I wish we had a bit more time to take in some of the sites we visited but the day provided a great overall view.

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The Baseball Hall of Fame is located in the idyllic, lush town of Cooperstown.  The  area was the setting for many of James Fenimore’s books about early American life.  Glimmerglass Lake was idyllic and calming.  The Susquehana River begins its journey down to the Chesapeake Bay from this location, as well as being the location of meetings for several Native American tribal leaders.

The Baseball Hall of Fame was …….interesting.  I’m not a baseball fan, but have at least gone to a Rockies game and three Sky Sox games.  But the big allure of the place was not as strong for me as others on the trip.  The museum has a great collection of lesson plans to incorporate various aspects of life into the fabric of baseball and I look forward to

perusing the lessons more extensively.  The movie that was shown helped give a great overview of baseball for non-fans such as myself.  Baseball is a great conduit for making connections in the classroom to historical events, modern times, and relationship building with students.

http://baseballhall.org/

The two exhibits that I enjoyed the most were the Negro Leagues and breaking down that color barrier and the women’s leagues.  I am thinking of new ways to introduce the topics of Black History Month and Civil Rights through baseball.

The resources from the website and the photos that I took will facilitate this and be a springboard for me.

The Fenimore Museum had some interesting collections.  The first was the exhibit “Empire Waists, Bustles and Lace” a century of  New York fashion from the 1800’s.  The beauty of the fabrics, the craftsmanship of style, and the elegance gives the viewer a glimpse of what life and dressing was like.  I could not imagine wearing the layers, the undergarments, and the heaviness of the outfits, as well as the physical damage that was caused to women by the wearing of corsets.

http://www.fenimoreartmuseum.org

The black and white exhibit, In Our Time: The World as Seen by Magnum Photographers was thought provoking.  Black and white allows the viewer to focus on the subject, rather than getting lost within the colors.  The photos were taken from all over the world, by various photographers throughout the twentieth century and gives a brief glimpse of a moment in time and the events that happened.  I feel very lucky that we were able to see this exhibit.

John Singer Sargent’s exhibit, Portraits in Praise of Women, offered a wonderful look into the lives of women from the late 1800s.  The exhibit also gave a personal, up close look at Sargent’s paintings and could be utilized in the classroom, correlating American artists to the time periods in which they were painting.

The Native American collection was quite broad and covered cultural regions from all over North America including the Eastern Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, and Northwest.  Being a potter,

I was most impressed by a piece of pottery in which mica had been added to the clay body.  The pot was a gorgeous glimmer of gold.

The Farmers Museum was quaint and offered a glimmer into what life was like in the area in the early to mid 1800’s.  To me, this site reminded me of Lincoln’s village of New Salem but this was not set in the “frontier”.  All of us needed some lighthearted entertainment and that is what was provided on the merry go round.  I hadn’t heard so many laughs from this group in a while!  There were an assortment of buildings that would have comprised a village – blacksmith, pharmacy, school house, law office, general store, tavern, church, barn, barnyard, fields and gardens, and various houses of people with different social status that would be found in a community.  I found the wall paper in some of the houses to be very unique as well as the early faux finishing that was done on the floors and doors.  If we lived in a closer proximity, this would definitely be a field trip outing that classes teaching early American history would benefit from.

After spending ten days in New York City, the sense of peacefulness and calm that greeted us as we got off the bus in Oyster Bay was wonderful.  You could hear the birds singing, watch the leaves blow in the wind, smell the scents from flowers and trees, and just relish in nature and space.  I certainly needed that after the chaos, noise, smells, and density of New York City.

The strongest impression I got from visiting Sagmore Hill was how much of a family man Theodore Roosevelt was – he strongly believed that home, wife, and children are the things that counted in life.  The second thing that struck me was the fact that Roosevelt’s boys all volunteered for military service in World War I. How many of today’s politicians support and take pride in the fact that their children help to serve our country?  Very few, if any….today’s military is composed of the poorer Americans answering the call to service and seeing the military as a way to advance their lives, and that of their children.

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I found the home and grounds to be nicer than Hyde Park.  The single generational home was warmer and more personalized than Hyde Park – it felt like it had been lived in, not just a museum.  The wood work was beautifully done as well as the stained glass found throughout the house.  One could imagine sounds and sight of the Roosevelt children and cousins running rampant through the house and out into the yard and property.  The Roosevelts placed a high importance on reading, learning, and physical activity.  All members of the household, and guests, were expected to read a book each day.  The day’s reading was to be a conversation starter at the nightly 5 p.m. dinner table.  Those who did not complete this task, or who were  more than ten minutes late for dinner, ate with the servants in the kitchen at 6 p.m.; again this included both guests as well as members of the household.

While I only teach up to Reconstruction, there are some tie-ins I could do with TR.  One possibility is his strong ties to Lincoln.  Another possibility is the creation of the National Park system….that would correspond to Earth Day or National Parks Day.  But another very strong possibility is TR’s words of wisdom….he had a lot of great thoughts that could be inspiring to students; bits of wisdom can always be added into history lessons.

Theodore Roosevelt was born into a family of wealth and privilidge, but with that, came the understanding of helping out mankind.  TR’s father was a founding member and supporter of many of New York City’s premier institutions like the Historical Society and Natural History Museum.  Roosevelt took on factory work issues, as his Square Deal dealt with the evils of industrialism.  He attacked bigg business and broke up Monopolies.  He was also a peacemaker, helping to end the Russo/Japanese War, becoming the first American to receive the Nobel Peace prize.  His daughter summed up her father by saying, “He wanted to be the bride at every wedding, and the corpse at every funeral.”  Theodore Roosevelt thrived on being the center of attention and taking on daunting tasks for the betterment of mankind and for the natural world as well.

http://www.nps.gov/sahi/index.htm