Originally, the idea was to take the ferry over to Campobello, so we stayed in Eastport, rather than Lubec (“the easternmost municipality
in the US”). Come morning it was rainy and foggy, and there was no reason to take a fog-bound ferry, so we drove 30 miles or so around the bay to Lubec and over the bridge into Canada. In five minutes, you are in the national park, and on the grounds of the Roosevelt Cottage. Of course, just as the “cottages” in Newport, RI, this is a LARGE cottage.
The island became a popular summer resort for wealthy Canadians and Americans, from Montreal, Boston, New York and Philadelphia, many of whom built large estates there. Included in this group was Sara Delano and her husband James Roosevelt. Sara had a number of Delano cousins living in Maine, and Campobello offered a beautiful summer retreat where their family members could easily visit. From 1883 onward, the Roosevelt family made Campobello Island their summer home.
Here is the “cottage” as it looks today from the lawn leading down to the water.
This is the view from the porch looking west to the bay.
Here is Roosevelt’s study, with his trademark cigarette holder in the ashtray on the table.
This is the place where Roosevelt caught polio in August 1921. After falling off his fishing boat and catching a chill, he went out fishing the next day, also swimming in a lake and camping. He found himself catching a chill, and the next morning one leg was paralyzed, then the next day, both. By the fourth day he had other serious symptoms, such as fever, numbness delirium and at one time his arms, chest and facial muscles were also affected. He was treated and observed by two prominent physicians who were also staying on the island, one an expert in poliomyelitis, hence the diagnosis, but many now believe he was struck by a form of Guillain–Barré syndrome, which was a disease most doctors were not familiar with at the time.
In September, he was transported off the island and never walked again. His subsequent visits to the island were limited to weekends, and as President, he only visited three times, in 1933, 1936, and 1939. For the 1933 visit, he left for Annapolis aboard the USS Indianapolis, which was on it's post-shakedown voyage. Of course, the Indianapolis would later transport vital components of the the first atomic bomb to Tinian for assembly and delivery before being lost on the way back to base.
While it was a grey and rainy day, the best thing about Campobello was being able to see both photo and films of Roosevelt actually walking, running, sailing etc., as opposed to the usual photos you see of him sitting or standing still. While his paralysis was generally hidden from the public most of the time anyway, the Roosevelt you see at Campobello is much more lively than the one most people remember.