The White House

Washington

 

I always think of myself as a rediscoverer of Stratford. Probably there were many others who, like myself, stumbled upon the Stratford of twenty years ago. I knew of its existence, of course, but not its precise location. When, therefore, a party of us who were serving in the Wilson administration landed from the small presidential yacht Sylph at an apparently uninhabited section of the lower Potomac and Stratford appeared before us as we strolled inland, we felt the thrill of a Balboa upon a peak of Darien. The amazing dignity of the great house, of the outbuildings and barns, transcended the want of repair and the lack of accessibility. Many times after that I returned to visit Doctor Stuart and to wander with him through the rooms and then up to the roof to see if aught remained of the original glimpse of the Potomac.

It is right and fitting that Stratford is being made once more a shrine to which the lovers of the history of our land can come from every part of the nation. It is a shrine dedicated to a great American family and especially to the memory of that very great gentleman, Robert E. Lee. It is equally a permanent memorial to a brave, young civilization for which modern America will always be grateful.

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

 

Source: Stratford Hall archives

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2021 September 27