An early morning fire has destroyed one of the historic homes built by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Warm Springs.
At 5 a.m. Tuesday, a state employee discovered the charred remains of the McCarthy Cottage that Roosevelt built in 1927, according to Sam Hall, with the Georgia Department of Labor. The cottage is separate from the Little White House, where FDR spent time during his presidency. A cottage adjacent to the McCarthy Cottage also burned down. The E. T. Curtis Cottage was built in 1928, according to Hall.
Hall said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but earlier indications show that it may have been the result of recent electrical storms that caused power surges in the area.
The McCarthy Cottage is the first home Roosevelt built for himself in Warm Springs. He built his more well-known Little White House in 1932. HBO used the McCarthy Cottage as a principal set for the movie “Warm Springs” in 2004. The movie won the Emmy award for best TV movie in 2005.
“As the first home President Franklin Roosevelt built in Warm Springs, the nation has experienced a great loss with the burning of the McCarthy Cottage,” said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Because President Roosevelt resided there for four years, the McCarthy Cottage was the cottage of most historical value.”
Warm Springs cottages were resort homes for wealthy Georgians who took advantage of the warm springs at the base of Pine Mountain.
Roosevelt came to Warm Springs in 1924 hoping to find a cure for the polio that had struck him in 1921. Later, after Roosevelt founded his world famous polio treatment center at Warm Springs, the cottages became the homes of prominent polio survivors and their families who required on-going treatment.
McCarthy Cottage had been used for staff and VIP housing since 1974, when the state of Georgia assumed ownership and operation of Roosevelt’s famous treatment center.
The two cottages, along with 27 others, are now part of the Warm Springs National Historic Landmark District. Both were to have been restored as part of the Georgia Rotary District 6900 Adopt a Cottage Campaign launched in May to eventually restore all 29 historic cottages.
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