Some Fun Facts about Hyde Park, Hudson, and FDR

The story of Hyde Park and the Roosevelts who lived there is a fascinating bit of American history. Here are just a few facts.

Hyde Park, NY, settled in the 18th century, is located @90 miles north of New York City, in Dutchess County, alongside the Hudson River. Its main movie theater is the Hyde Park Roosevelt Cinemas and its high school is Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, both named after the town's most famous native son; FDR was born at the family estate in 1882.

FDR's wife Eleanor Roosevelt converted Val-Kill cottage, part of the Roosevelt estate (known as Hyde Park on Hudson) but away from the main house (built in 1826 and known as Springwood), into a factory named Val-Kill Industries. Artists and artisans educated and trained people to produce handicrafts. Franklin Roosevelt was impressed by the initiative and furthered the concept in his federal stimulus programs. After the factory closed, Mrs. Roosevelt later moved into the cottage, which was furnished with items that had been made there.

Eleanor Roosevelt's home at Val-Kill and Springwood are both on the National Register of Historic Places. The Roosevelt Farm Lane Trail, a 3.6-mile round-trip hiking trail, connects Val-Kill and the house.

The National Park Service operates the Roosevelt Ride, a free shuttle bus ferrying visitors to and from an area train station. The Ride makes stops at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum; Val-Kill; Springwood; and FDR's hilltop retreat, Top Cottage.

Prior to the start of filming the 1939-set Hyde Park on Hudson, director/producer Roger Michell immersed himself in research at the Library and Museum; stars Bill Murray and Laura Linney and screenwriter Richard Nelson spent time there as well, and toured all of the grounds and buildings.

It was on and around the front porch (a.k.a. veranda) of Top Cottage that a picnic with the King and Queen of England was held in June 1939. The menu included green salad, strawberry shortcake, and hot dogs.