Sagamore Hill

Sagamore Hill was the Theodore Roosevelt family home in Cove Neck, on Long Island, New York. Roosevelt bought 155 acres from Thomas Youngs, and sold parts of the land to relatives, The North Room at Sagamore Hill circa 1912. From the Roosevelt Family albums, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division.keeping 95 acres on which to build a home with his wife, Alice Hathaway Lee. With architects Lamb and Rich the couple designed “Leeholm,” a large, rambling Queen Anne style house that would hold the many children they hoped to have. Alice died in childbirth on February 14, 1884, but Theodore decided to proceed with construction because of his infant daughter. He changed the name from Leeholm to Sagamore Hill, for the Native American chief Sagamore Mohannis who had lived there in the seventeenth century. On March 1, 1884, Roosevelt contracted with Long Island builder John A. Wood to begin the work which was completed in 1885. The following year Theodore Roosevelt married Edith Kermit Carow. After their honeymoon, they moved into Sagamore Hill with three-year-old Alice and began their own family.

The first floor of the 22-room house consists of the entrance hall, the library (Theodore Roosevelt’s study), the drawing room (Edith Roosevelt’s study), the North Room (added in 1905), the dining room, the pantry, and the kitchen. Living quarters for the family were on the second floor. The third floor consisted of maids’ bedrooms, the trunk room, the school room, the governess’s room (which Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., later occupied), the linen closet, and the Gun Room. 

Theodore Roosevelt’s desk in his library at Sagamore Hill circa 1912. From the Roosevelt Family albums, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division.When Theodore Roosevelt was young, he spent many summers in and around Cove Neck, playing, hiking, swimming, and boating. He wanted his children to experience a similar upbringing. At Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt led his brood on point-to-point walks and schooled them in outdoor living. They learned how to shoot, row, ride, and care for animals there. When he assumed the presidency of the United States on September 14, 1901, Sagamore Hill became known as the “summer White House.” The Roosevelts entertained relatives and dignitaries there, including envoys engaged in peace talks in 1905 for the Russo-Japanese War. On the piazza, Roosevelt learned of his nomination for governor of New York in 1898, for vice-president of the United States in 1900, and of the successful presidential election in 1904. So many people came to Sagamore Hill to consult Roosevelt throughout his career that in 1905, the piazza was lengthened toward the southwest in order to fashion a podium for his addresses.

Today, Sagamore Hill is a national historic site under the aegis of the National Park Service.