By Georgia Public Broadcasting
The Historic Pools at Warm Springs
Warm Springs Foundation-Polio Treatment (1938) by Margaret Bourke-WhiteLIFE Photo Collection
In 1926, Franklin Delano Roosevelt purchased hundreds of acres of land in Warm Springs, Georgia, to accommodate the increasing number of "uninvited" visitors to the town.
Sufferers of polio had heard through newspaper accounts that a prominent New Yorker was attempting to treat himself in the surrounding springs.
By 1927, the property had been donated to the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, an organization of doctors and therapists dedicated to treating patients from across the country.
Roosevelt Visited Warm Springs for Treatment (2015) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting
A New Deal for Polio Treatment
Seeking relief from the debilitating disease of polio, Franklin Delano Roosevelt first visited the town of Warm Springs, Georgia, in 1924. Over the course of his lifetime, FDR came to Warm Springs 41 times.
Polio Treatment Pools (2015) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting
Roosevelt's commitment in time and effort to physical therapy at Warm Springs offered great hope and cheer to patients and locals alike.
The Washington Post reports that one patient recalled, "I owe Roosevelt my life, my whole life [because] I got polio on my fifth birthday, but I was a very happy child. I owe that to him and this place. This was a place where you didn't feel sorry for yourself and no one felt sorry for you."
Treatment Pool Bench (2015) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting
The town of Warm Springs surrounds an 88°F natural spring that has been sought for therapy and healing as far back as the 1830s.
Roosevelt Swimming in a Treatment Pool (1929) by Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & MuseumGeorgia Public Broadcasting
For patients of the facility, Roosevelt was just like them. They saw him moving independently in his wheelchair, they saw him undergoing therapy, and they saw him reveling in card-playing and live entertainment.
Warm Springs F. D. R's Home (1938-11) by Margaret Bourke-WhiteLIFE Photo Collection
The Warm Springs Foundation was initially funded with over half of Roosevelt's personal savings.
Enclosed pools were built for doctors and physiotherapists to treat patients with newly developed muscle exercises.
Roosevelt Receiving Physical Therapy (1928) by Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & MuseumGeorgia Public Broadcasting
Patients came from around the country to enjoy the encouragement, camaraderie, and "spirit of Warm Springs" at the growing resort.
Fdr At Thanksgiving (1938-11) by Margaret Bourke-WhiteLIFE Photo Collection
America Bids Goodbye
Franklin D. Roosevelt was at home in Warm Springs when he collapsed from a cerebral hemorrhage in April of 1945. The nation was devastated. FDR had been president for over 12 years. A funeral train carried the president's body back to Washington immediately. The route was lined by soldiers and well-wishers. Here, local musician Graham Jackson plays "Near My God, To Thee" as the president's funeral train leaves Warm Springs.
FDR Presidential Library and Museum
New Georgia Encyclopedia
Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation