Monday, July 6, 2015

A Ghostly Visit to Sagamore Hill

Roosevelt Family Portrait 1907
Hello my name is Nicholas Fitzke and I am the ProRanger currently stationed at Fire Island National Seashore.

One of the most important ways the park service functions is through resource sharing. I learned on my arrival to Fire Island that the park shares its law enforcement resources with neighboring Sagamore Hill National Historical Site, a former home of Theodore Roosevelt. This is a way for smaller monuments and historical parks to still feel safe even if they aren't large enough to contain their own law enforcement department.

My first day on the job I participated in some of this resource sharing and got to take a trip to Sagamore Hill. My supervising ranger and I took a walk around the grounds. The house is currently under renovation so we didn't get to take a look inside but the grand reopening is July 12th and is slated to be a large event.

We did get to visit Old Orchard, the home of Theodore's son Ted Jr. just down a path from the main house. Old Orchard was given to Ted Jr. after Theodore's death in January of 1919. Inside is a great museum that covers the career and accomplishments of Theodore Sr.

Now it is the policy of the National Park Service to denounce all claims of supernatural phenomena in the parks but when I visited Old Orchard something strange happened. At the top of a staircase in the home is a painting of Eleanor Butler Roosevelt, the wife of Ted Jr. Most people confuse her with the other famous Eleanor with the same name but she was a separate person. As I walked past the painting a strange feeling of Deja vu overcame me. I walked down the staircase with this very haunting feeling.

Eleanor Butler Roosevelt
Later that day one of the interpretive rangers at the park told me that Eleanor had committed suicide in that very stairway. Did I cross paths with a ghost? Who knows? This spooked me but it was definitely an interesting story to learn about.

If you want to learn more about the Roosevelt family and their life you can visit Sagamore Hill National Historical Site's website at:

Check back next week for my experience with a dead humpback whale and its autopsy.

1 comment:

  1. Does your park have a newsletter? If so, you should definitely write a column!