Historic Georgia home built FDR destroyed by fire - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Historic Georgia home built by FDR destroyed by fire

WARM SPRINGS, GA - It is hard to imagine a former home of a president would be nothing but smoke and blackened ruins.

"I came right to the scene and the cottage was already destroyed, and I think it was an immediate sense of loss."

Executive Director for the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation Greg Schmieg says a worker reported the fire around 5:30 Tuesday morning, but Warm Springs firefighters say it was too late. The building was beyond saving.  Firefighters say do not yet know what started the blaze that consumed a garage and a neighboring cottage as well.

"It is like you've lost a member of your family, and I think throughout the day, we've been grieving to some degree," said Schmieg.

Franklin D. Roosevelt built the McCarthy Cottage as his first home in Warm Springs in 1927 after coming to the small community searching for help for the paralysis of his legs caused by polio.  He lived here in the cottage while he was the governor of New York.

[Web Extra! YouTube video of McCarthy's Cottage]

"It was in the cottage where we believe he was convinced to run for president of the United States."

Schmieg says the famous home was a living legacy for Roosevelt's desire to help others.  While the cottage continues to burn, he says words of encouragement have been coming from people across the country.

"The cottage may be gone, but our mission still continues.  So, that was kind of heartwarming to me.  Yes, the cottage means a lot but we are all about serving the people with disability in this century.  So, we will continue the spirit that lives in this cottage."

The McCarthy Cottage as well as the other cottages at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation are being put up for  "adoption."  The facility is partnering with local Rotary to preserve and restore these cottages in "Adopt a Cottage" where organizations and individuals will be able to sponsor the homes.

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