FDR’s Great-Granddaughter Retraces Historic Trip

By Beacon Staff

WEST GLACIER – Seventy-five years after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt traveled on the newly built Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, his great-granddaughter re-created the journey.

Kate Roosevelt of Seattle said the trip allowed her to imagine how things were in 1934.

“It’s really fun to think of them doing this, just like we are,” Kate Roosevelt said. She even unpacked a picnic lunch at the top of Logan Pass, as the president had done.

“You can imagine perfectly what it must have been like for them.”

Both made the trip in Cadillac touring cars.

“For me, the decision to be here was a combination of three things,” Kate Roosevelt said Wednesday. “First, it was an opportunity to ride in these vehicles so lovingly restored; second, the opportunity to commemorate the 75th anniversary of this famous presidential trip; and third, the opportunity to come back to Glacier, where I worked 20 years ago.”

Kate Roosevelt said she didn’t know until Tuesday night that Eleanor Roosevelt and their three sons had accompanied the president to Glacier.

After the 52-mile trip, FDR delivered a national radio address from Two Medicine Chalet.

“Today, for the first time in my life, I have seen Glacier National Park,” FDR told the country. “Perhaps I can best express to you my thrill and delight by saying that I wish every American, old and young, could have been with me today.”

“The great mountains, the glaciers,the lakes and the trees make me long to stay here for all the rest of summer,” FDR said, adding that he hoped “that each and every one of you, who can possibly find the means and opportunity for so doing, will visit our national parks and use them as they are intended to be used.”

Glacier National Park, in northwestern Montana, became the nation’s 10th national park in 1910 and is celebrating its centennial next year.

FDR remains the only sitting president to visit Glacier.

The White House announced Friday that President Barack Obama planned to visit Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon next week.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs says the trip is meant to encourage people to visit the national park system, and it will occur during a “fee-free” weekend for national parks.

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