The Rough Writer

News for and about the Volunteers at Sagamore Hill
Volume 22, Issue 04
April 2020
The Rough Writer is a volunteer newsletter, not an official National Park Service publication. It should not be used for historic research. 

If you can't see the photos in this e-newsletter, click "display images below" or "allow images" in your email.

"I wonder if you know how much I love Sagamore Hill." Theodore Roosevelt
From the Editors
TR’s words to Edith before his death also resonate with volunteers and staff as we continue to stay at home and limit exposure to each other and visitors for safety’s sake. Many volunteers have written to say how much they miss being at Sagamore Hill. Perhaps it is not too far a stretch to say that like TR, we, too, love Sagamore Hill.  

When we began work on this issue of the Rough Writer , we did not know how long Sagamore HIll, much less the entire National Park System as well as all functioning institutions in this country would be closed. We still don’t. However, throughout this period, Acting Superintendent Jonathan Parker and Curator Susan Sarna have been mindful of our concerns about the site and those who maintain it and have reached out to elicit our questions. Recent letters from Jonathan and Sue to volunteers and staff, as well as a news release to the general public issued on April 17, announced the official closing of the entire Sagamore Hill Site effective as of that date. Although the TRH and the Old Orchard Museum have been closed to visitors for several weeks due to health directives in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new restrictions are designed to further protect the property, its environs, staff, and visitors. 
Volunteers and staff serve the public with enthusiasm and knowledge, and in doing so, the community of volunteers and staff have formed an important source of friendship for ourselves as well as our families. Thank you to everyone who continues to care for the site and to each of you who are practicing good public health habits so that we can all come together in the not too distant future to continue doing what we love to do - giving tours, greeting visitors, gardening, creating Lunch and Learn presentations and educational programs for teachers and the general public, working with curatorial staff documenting and helping organize the voluminous archival materials, planning picnics, giving grounds walks, supporting FOSH, writing articles for the Rough Writer, showing up when extra help is needed and so much more. You are each an important and integral part of this amazing community. See you soon.

Nancy and Charlotte
How I Spent My Spring Vacation

Joe DeFranco writes that while staying safe and practicing his social distancing, he also used his time away from Sagamore Hill to catch up on a few chores around the house - painting and making sure the red wine was put to good use! Joe and his wife Ellen also welcomed a new grandson on March 19. Cruz Anthony DeFranco, the second son of Deidre and Roger DeFranco, was born two weeks early. Joe said, “That is a good thing because all hell broke loose with the virus at the hospital the night after Cruz was born. Cruz has an older brother (14 ½ months older), Jackson Joseph. Jackson actually attended last year's Sagamore Hill awards picnic although I don't think he had any of the wine.”

Valerie Kamin has started a popular new diet. There are many variations. Some folks substitute chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, and cheesecake paired with red wine, gin & tonic, or single malt scotch. The choices are endless!

Lois Lindberg says she and Al visit Sagamore Hill pretty regularly. It is a good place to walk their dog (she just had her first birthday). The Carriage Road is best, almost nobody knows that trail, so it's easy to socially distance.   

Unfortunately, as of April 17, SAHI is closed to all visitors until further notice in response to concerns from the local community and public health officials. No entry will be allowed into the site, except to employees, residents, and other authorized persons. 

Nancy Hall intended to use her new free time to rearrange the basement books, read War and Peace, and finish knitting a scarf she has been very slowly working on for the past five years! Instead, she has read shorter books, cooked, and tended her bees .

Lou Gottfried has also been busy in the kitchen. He has enjoyed making his own peanut butter and homemade granola. Unfortunately, the cooks at Sagamore Hill never had a Cuisinart food processor to whip up such goodies for the Roosevelt children!
Milton Elis writes that he has been spending the last weeks going from store to store looking for toilet paper. “The hoarders have cleared the shelves of toilet paper and other items. We can live without the other items, but we need toilet paper. My ancestors may have used the Montgomery Ward or Sears catalogs or dried corn cobs, for hygienic purposes, but we need toilet paper. Unfortunately, I am not an early riser and so I cannot get to the stores at the early six o'clock or seven o'clock special time for seniors. If you see a forlorn man walking empty-handed to his car, you will know I found another store that had no toilet paper.” Milton also continues working on organizing - not planting - his family tree.

 Janet Parga  is still volunteering at Planting Fields. She works two days a week in a production greenhouse. They transplant all the seedlings that are the annuals that go to Long Island's state parks. Janet says she also finds solace and pleasure working in her own gardens. She tries to exercise daily, reads, cooks, and finds a house project or creative endeavor to occupy herself. But most importantly she FaceTimes with her daughter and grandchildren. 

Toby Selda is keeping busy researching her Dee-lightful Discoveries with just a few members of her extensive teddy bear collection (she is obsessed) and TR looking over her shoulder. By the way, she wants to know where she can get a haircut! (See below for her latest dee-lightful installment.)

Charlotte Miska says "I learned to take a selfie, I watched "my" American goldfinches change from their drab winter plumage to their stunning neon yellow and black breeding plumage, and channeled my Polish grandmother to make golabki (that is stuffed cabbage to all you without Polish roots). I also started Valerie's new diet and watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind for the first time." (See article below.)

 Mike Sassi writes "No tours at Sagarmore Hill or Old Westbury Gardens. No classes at the Cradle of Aviation. No excuses! The euonymus always needs an early spring clipping." 

Sue Sarna, our dedicated curator writes "The house says hello! As you can see I am protecting Fred from the virus." Well done!

Pollinator Garden Spring Cleanup
by Lois Lindberg
Just before everything shut down, Eileen Anders organized a gardening morning with Brenda Cherry, Rick Elinson, and myself, to clean up around the Pollinator Garden at the old Visitors Center. Since everyone was encouraged to wear some kind of face cover, I put a red bandanna to good use and sewed a couple of masks, even one for TR himself. (It's still better when wrapped around a bottle of wine, though!)
Rick and Brenda Hard at Work
Eileen Ready to Start

Lois's Handiwork
Even TR Has a Face Mask

Sad News
Christine Ghent
Our condolences to the family of Christine Ghent who died on April 5 after a period of ill health. Volunteers wishing to send a card to her daughter, Virginia, may write her at the following address: 77 Woolsey Ave., Glen Cove, NY 11542.
John D’Arcangelis
Volunteer John D’Arcangelis died in early April. Our thanks to Richard Brennan for informing us of his death. Joe DeFranco wrote this about John: “He was a very good guy who really enjoyed being at OOM and occasionally filled in at TRH when needed. He actually filled in for me while I recovered from surgery. Visitors liked being around John and enjoyed his depth of knowledge and passion which he shared without it seeming like a history lesson. RIP John and God bless.” And Tyler Kuliberda also remembered John as “very knowledgeable and always willing to jump in wherever he was needed and enjoyed being with the public. Volunteers wishing to send a card to his family may write to this address: 47 James Street, Patchogue, NY 11772
Curator's Corner
by Susan Sarna
The Theodore Roosevelt Home and the objects inside are safe and riding out the pandemic in bliss. With the exterior doors remaining closed, the Front Hall’s temperature and humidity are staying level. The house is relatively pest free and clean without 14 people bringing in bugs and extra dirt every half hour on tour. I know I have said before that the house would be happy if no visitors entered, and yes, the house is doing quite well, but it misses the visitors. 

The purpose of the Theodore Roosevelt Home, Old Orchard Museum, and the museum collection is to inspire and educate the public. Although opportunities exist to visit the home and see some of the collection online, we cannot fully accomplish our mission if the site is not open. As I perform my twice-weekly walk-through check on the house, it makes me contemplate our purpose at Sagamore Hill. If no visitors came to the site, why would we need to preserve the objects? Without visitors the objects are just that - objects - they need to tell their story in order to bring relevance to their existence. As I walk through, I can picture a dedicated VIP or Ranger leading an enthusiastic group of visitors through the halls of the home. I see visitors that are clamoring for more information on Theodore Roosevelt and his rambunctious family. I see their eyes widening as they peer into a room and picture TR sitting at his desk running the country or reading to his children.

It is you, the guides, who bring the house and the objects in it alive. It is you who are the ones who inspire and educate. You use the objects to assist you with your task. So, I promise to do my best to keep the house all in good order until you return once again to fill it with tales of TR and the family. Stay safe.
My Close Encounter
by Charlotte Miska
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is an iconic science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Richard Dreyfus. It tells the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue-collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after an encounter with a UFO. It was released in 1977 and until recently I was probably one of the few people in this country who never saw it. That changed when I borrowed the DVD from the Oyster Bay Library several days before it closed for the duration. When the storyline took me to Devils Tower National Monument I was thrilled to hear TR mentioned, and then horrified that the information was wrong! The scene in question was a fictional ABC newscast where the reporter states that the Devils Tower National Monument was created by Theodore Roosevelt in 1915. Well, we all know that is not true.

The facts are TR created Devils Tower, a sacred symbol to several Native American tribes, as the first national monument on September 24, 1906, under the Antiquities Act which provides general protection for any general kind of cultural or natural resource. It gives the President the authority to set aside for protection "...historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States..." These protected areas are designated "national monuments" and the federal agencies assigned to oversee them are required to afford proper care and management of the resources. Currently there are 128 National Monuments located in 31 states as well as in the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Minor Outlying Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Arizona and California have the most national monuments, each with 18, followed by New Mexico with 13.

Enjoy movies, but do not believe everything you see and hear!

Spaceship Hovering Over Devil's Tower

Sources: Wikipedia, National Park Service Archaeology website
The White House Gang
by Joe DeFranco
Shortly after President McKinley’s assassination at the Pan-American Exposition, and after Theodore Roosevelt ascended to the presidency, Edith and Ted Jr. arrived to take up residence at the White House. After looking the place over, she summoned the rest of the family to follow her. When they all descended upon the residence, “the wildest scramble in the history of the White House” began, according to chief usher Ike Hoover. The more staid and serious White House staff were about to have their lives turned upside down, and their usual routine challenged, as they witnessed the uproar that ensued.

No chair was too finely upholstered to be used as a launching pad from one chair to another; “Nothing was too sacred to be used for amusement and no place too good for a playroom.” Pandemonium broke out as the children roller-skated through the house and held races on stilts, all seemingly endorsed by their parents. The biggest troublemakers were what the President and his wife called “The White House Gang.”

The gang was recruited at the Force Public School in Washington, DC, where Quentin, the aggressive mastermind of the gang, was enrolled. Besides Quentin, the membership included Charles “Taffy” Taft, son of the future president, along with Bromley Seeley, whose main physical characteristic was his apparent lack of eyebrows. Dick “Sailor” Chew, whose nickname suggested he chewed tobacco which he did once on a dare and immediately came to regret it, was another gang member along with Edward “Slats” Stead. Edward got his nickname because he was wiry and able to break into almost any inaccessible forbidden place. Walker White, grandson of General Horatio Gibson, and Earle Looker rounded out the core membership in this exclusive club. Looker would later detail the group’s exploits in a book written later in his life.  

Among the gang’s more notorious exploits were riding atop the elevator in the White House, riding bicycles inside the house, and holding “corporate” meetings in the attic, a place previously the domain of rats and other unpleasant critters. Being an honorary member of the gang, the President would sometimes attend the meetings and chase the gang through the attic growling like a bear. On one occasion, one of the boys thought it funny to turn off the lights while TR was chasing them. This caused TR to bump his head on one of the beams. When they turned the lights back on, the boys discovered that a nail was sticking out of the beam. The “bear” just missed having his eye put out by that nail by a mere two inches. No more turning out the lights from that point on. 

On another occasion, the President was walking through the White House at night and discovered Andrew Jackson’s portrait covered in spitballs. He knew who the culprits were and woke Quentin and made him clean up “Old Hickory’s” portrait. The following morning a “trial” was held underneath the spitball-free painting. At one point during the trial, an usher appeared to inform the President that he had received a phone call. The President’s response was “Later, later, I am busy dispensing justice.” The trial resumed with all present being found guilty and subsequently banned from the White House for a period of two weeks. Desecrating Jackson’s portrait immediately became taboo. However, this sentence of banishment did not deter the gang or future schemes, most of which were either disregarded by the President or tempted him to join in the game.

Life at the White House was completely turned on its head by the Roosevelt children, especially by the extended family known as the White House Gang. The illustration of the visit of St Nicholas in the nursery of the TRH emphasizes the change in atmosphere that descended on the creaky old house. (See article below.) Thomas Nast, a noted political cartoonist of the day, who also illustrated many of TR’s articles for Harper’s Weekly, shows a twinkling St Nicholas leaving gifts for the Roosevelt children. The inscription under this illustration reads “New Life in the Old House”. It celebrates the first time in a long time that a president had brought a very active family to live and play in the formerly staid executive mansion. “New life” indeed!

“The Roosevelts Move Into the White House”
Forty Two Years in the White Hous e, Irwin Hoover 
The White House Gang , Earle Looker
Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to his Children, edited by Joseph Bishop
  Thomas Nast
by Janet Parga
Having researched and presented a Lunch and Learn meeting on some of the art work at Sagamore Hill, I often reflect on what was my favorite piece of art. Although there is a great deal of precious art work on site, I would have to say I am most impressed by the pen and ink drawing of Santa Claus by Thomas Nast that hangs over the “kiddie coop” in the nursery.

Though born in Germany, Nast is considered the “Father of the American Political Cartoon.” He and his mother immigrated to the United States when he was six years old. Among his many iconic American images, he is credited with creating the symbol of the Republican party, the elephant; the Democratic donkey; the female personification of America, Columbia; and the popular image of St Nicholas or Santa Claus. 

By the age of 18, Nast was hired by Harper’s Weekly where he worked for 25 years. A Radical Republican and liberal progressive, Nast was a strong supporter of the Union during the Civil War. His caricatures and political cartoons attacked slave holders and Northerners who opposed emancipation, and he later lampooned figures such as “Boss” Tweed and attacked the political corruption of the Democratic Tammany Hall. Theodore Roosevelt was a fan of Nast’s work, especially those cartoons attacking corruption in Roosevelt’s hometown, New York City.

But Nast fell into hard times in his later years. Changing printing technology and popular tastes caused his particular style of cartooning to fall out of vogue. Broke and jobless, TR offered him a job in his administration as US Consul General to Ecuador. Nast returned the favor by gifting TR with an illustration of Santa Claus visiting the White House. The cartoon shows the jolly, rotund figure made famous by Coca Cola advertisements, but this cartoon has some interesting details: a picture of TR is on the mantel behind Santa, and six stockings hang on the mantel, one for each Roosevelt child. And the inscription, “New Life in the Old House”, celebrates the nation’s excitement at having a young family in the White House again. 
Sadly, soon after Nast traveled to Ecuador to take up his post, he died there amid a yellow fever outbreak in 1902.
  Archibald Butt
Military Aide to Presidents Roosevelt and Taft
by Valerie Kamin
Many interesting and colorful people influenced the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. One of these was Archibald Willingham DeGraffenreid Clarendon Butt. Known as Archie Butt, his career had many parallels to that of TR.   

Butt was born September 26th, 1865 in Augusta, Georgia. He attended the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee where he majored in journalism. He published several books and wrote for magazines in Kentucky and Washington, DC. Butt, who long admired the military, enlisted in the Spanish-American War in 1898 as a Lieutenant in the United States Volunteers and later (1901) received a commission as captain in the regular United States Army. His work took him to the Philippines where he remained until 1904. Bringing together his love of the military and his college training as a journalist, he wrote numerous treatises on the care of animals in the tropics, military transportation, and logistics, winning him much acclaim from military officials. In 1904, he was appointed depot quartermaster in Cuba.  

In March of 1908, Butt was recalled to Washington and in April of 1908, TR asked him to serve as his military aide based on his performance in the Philippines and on the recommendation of William Howard Taft, the civilian governor of the Philippines. As military aide, Butt became one of TR’s closest companions spending time hiking, riding horses, swimming, and playing tennis while becoming a fixture at Sagamore Hill.

When William Howard Taft became President in March 1909, he retained Butt as his military aide. The two became close with Butt serving as a social functionary and trusted negotiator. 

Butt wrote many letters to his mother and sister about his private and public relationships with the two Presidents.  On one of his visits to Sagamore Hill, Butt reported to his mother that Roosevelt, along with his family “makes you forget that you are in the house with the President, and that you are merely the guest of a very charming, witty and hospitable gentleman.” Butt felt that Edith Roosevelt set the tone for Sagamore Hill: “She really constitutes the atmosphere of the house, a sort of feminine luminiferous ether pervading everything and everyone.” These letters were compiled in two collections: The Letters of Archie Butt, Personal Aide to President Roosevelt , published in 1924 and Taft and Roosevelt: The Intimate Letters of Archie Butt, Military Aide , published in 1930 after Taft's death. 

Butt found himself caught in the middle of the bitter political conflict that developed between Roosevelt and Taft. Butt, loyal and close to both men, became depressed and took a leave of absence prior to the 1912 Republican primaries and traveled to Europe. He booked his return passage to the United States on the HMS Titanic. Sadly, he was one of the 1,500 people who lost their lives on the ship’s maiden voyage on April 14, 1912.
Vice President Theodore Roosevelt and General Archibald Butt at a sham battle, possibly Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, NY, June 15, 1901
(photo New-York Historical Society)

The Letters of Archie Butt, Personal Aide to President Roosevelt . Edited by Lawrence F. Abbott 1924.
Archibald Butt from Wikipedia
Dee-Lightful Discoveries!
by Toby Selda
Like many of you, I am really missing being at Sagamore Hill. I thought I would go through some of my at-home “archives” in an attempt to find things to bring smiles to your faces during these difficult times (and, in the process, do some necessary decluttering of papers I’ve been saving for too many years).

Roosevelt “Bunny” Tales - Kermit and Ethel
TR often referred to his six children as his “bunnies.” Sometimes these “bunnies” would spend time with the brother or sister closest to their own age. Alice called this “pairing off.” Kermit and Ethel were the middle pair. In their early years, they had a habit of hitting each other on the head with anything handy. When Kermit was five and Ethel three, he had water-on-the-knee and had to wear a metal brace. One day he found another purpose for his brace. In a letter to a friend (1), TR humorously described this recent uprising in the nursery:

“The other day Ethel took away his [Kermit’s] go-cart, whereupon he charged her like a small heavy dragoon, bowled her over, and trundled off the cart. Ethel, who possesses much determination, and the temper and physique of a miniature James Corbett made a rapid flank movement round by the piazza. She bit him and he used the weapon with which art had provided him by standing on his head and thumping her with his steel leg; about which period of the engagement a fond parent appeared on the scene and punished both combatants impartially.” (2)

When they were young, Ethel and Kermit got into a lot of mischief, especially when they played in the “dumbwaiter” (3). The dumbwaiter was used to bring wood to the different floors for the many fireplaces at Sagamore Hill. According to Ethel, “When I was little, I loved to hide in it [the dumbwaiter] with my brother Kermit. It was our favorite place! We would crawl into it and haul ourselves up and down. If someone opened the door while we were inside, we would quickly pull the wrong way on the ropes to avoid being caught. Kermit and I were, I’m afraid, rather wicked.” (4)

When necessary, Kermit and Ethel stood up for each other when one or the other was in trouble. Once when TR was speaking sternly to both of them, he reached down and shook Kermit by the shoulder. “The tears began streaming down Ethel’s cheeks. She touched her father’s arm. ‘Shake me , Father,’ she begged.” (5) 

Sometimes the children wanted to get away from unwanted visitors. They would escape out the windows from “Quentin’s Hideaway” (off the boys’ room) and down a ladder to the cornfields. One day a girl named Susie came to visit Ethel and she didn’t want to see her. Ethel quickly climbed out the window and down the ladder. When Father yelled upstairs that Susie was here, he heard Kermit say in a small voice, “Father, Ethel is not here at all.” (6) (I think Kermit probably waited for his sister to climb down the ladder before answering him because he knew that the most serious crime of all was lying to his father!)

As they grew older, Kermit and Ethel became good friends and spent a lot of time together in their garden or with their pets. Until Ethel was about 12 years old, she was still a “wild tomboy climbing trees” (7) and frequently wrestled with Kermit. But at least they no longer hit each other over the head with anything they could find!
Kermit and Ethel in a field of daisies at Sagamore Hill, June 1895, a few months before Ethel turned 4 and Kermit turned 6. 
(1) TR letter to Robert Munro Ferguson. March 12, 1894.
(2) as quoted in Theodore Roosevelt: The Man As I Knew Him. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1967. p. 28.
(3) “dumbwaiter” - a small elevator for carrying things between floors called that because it was a silent waiter, not seen or heard. (BTW, Jefferson designed a similar early device to carry his wine between floors. Google Dumbwaiters/ Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello to see a fascinating 2-minute video of how it worked!)
(4) dumbwaiter story. “ A Visit with Ethel Roosevelt Derby”. Shapiro, Harriet. TRA Journal , Vol. III, No 2, Summer 1977, p. 7-9.
(5) The Roosevelt Family of Sagamore Hill. Hagedorn, Hermann. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1954, p. 26.
(6) All in the Family. Roosevelt, Theodore Jr. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1929. p. 12.
(7) The Lion’s Pride. Renehan, Edward. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. p. 85.
Volunteer Travels - Ethiopia
by Dan Karas
Last fall, my wife Cheryl and I traveled to Ethiopia and Seychelles. While in Addis Ababa, we came upon the Statue of Emperor Menelik II (1844-1913), located in Menelik Square, the geographic center of Ethiopia. The elephant tusks displayed at the entrance to the North Room at Sagamore Hill were a gift from Emperor Menelik.
After signing a treaty in 1903, Emperor Menelik II gifted TR with two lions and a pair of elephant tusks as a sign of friendship between the two nations. The gilded bronze equestrian statue of Emperor Menelik II was erected in 1930 in Addis Ababa to commemorate Menelik’s victory at Adwa in 1886 during the First Italo-Ethiopian War. Menelik II would become Emperor in 1889 and ruled until 1913. He is credited with modernizing Ethiopia. In 1936, the Italians again invaded Ethiopia, and the statue became a symbol and rallying point for the residents of Addis Ababa who would often salute the statue. As a result, the Italians removed the statue and buried it in an undisclosed location. When the Italian occupation ended in 1941, the statue was located and reinstalled in its original location, facing south toward the direction of the Adwa battle. Menelik Square remains the heart of the Ethopian capital and the site for celebrating national holidays.

Dan in front of the statue of Emperor Menelik II. The message on the statue reads:

"It is not greatness to hail from a prominent family, greatness is to contribute something valuable to the motherland."

I think TR would agree.
Following Roosevelt Across the Andes
by Rick Elinson
All members-in-good-standing of the Teddy Roosevelt fan club know that he almost died on a famous trip in 1914 to explore the River of Doubt in Brazil. My wife Lynn and I knew that Roosevelt had gone to Argentina in advance of his expedition to Brazil, but we only learned of his sojourn to Chile and the crossing of the Andes when we made the same Andean crossing this February. Once our guide told us this story, we could compare Roosevelt’s trip to ours, deepening our appreciation of what we were seeing.
The Andes mountain range is a formidable barrier between Chile and Argentina. One of the few passages involves four lakes between Puerto Varas in Chile and Bariloche in Argentina. While initially a commercial way, Ricardo Roth turned it into a tourist route in 1913. One of his first clients was Theodore Roosevelt. Prior to meeting up with Cândido Rondon in Brazil, Roosevelt went from Argentina to Santiago, Chile and then to Puerto Varas on Lago Llanquihue (pronounce it as “Yankee way”).

Following Roth’s tourist route, Roosevelt took a steamer on Lago Llanquihue to Petrohué. There he went by horse to a get a boat on Lago Todos los Santos to Villa Peulla, where he spent the night at a “thoroughly comfortable hotel”. The next day, Roosevelt and his party went overland across the border to Puerto Frias, a boat on Lago Frias, overland from Puerto Alegre to Puerto Blest, and finally a boat on Lago Nahuel Huapi to Bariloche. While Roosevelt traveled overland on horse, his luggage was carried in ox carts along specially designed tracks.  

Roosevelt described this trip in “From Ox Cart to Motor Car in the Andes” ( The Outlook , May 23, 1914, pp. 171-185). The article includes photographs by Frank Harper and Kermit Roosevelt. The lakes are overlooked by snow-capped volcanoes, and there are no less than four photographs of the impressive Tronador Volcano (Figure 1 top) .

This tourist route remains popular more than a century later, and it is still run by the Roth family, now in its fourth generation. The boats remain, but the horses and ox carts have been replaced by buses and cargo trucks. Now, there is a road from Puerto Varas to Petrohué, eliminating one of the boat trips, but otherwise, it is the same. When Lynn and I made the crossing, our luggage was put into a large metal crate in Petrohué, and we were told not to expect to see it again until we were in Bariloche 10 hours later.  
Figure 1. (Top) Tronador Volcano photographed by Frank Harper, in Roosevelt, May 23, 1914, The Outlook . (Bottom) The same volcano March 3, 2020.
The terrain is still rugged, the lakes are still beautiful, and the volcanoes are still spectacular. The view of the symmetric, snow-capped Osorno Volcano from the Lago Todos los Santos is breathtaking (Figure 2), and the Tronador Volcano looms over the landscape (Figure 1 bottom). At Villa Puella where Roosevelt spent the night, there is a large, modern tourist hotel, where we had a delicious buffet lunch. There is little else there, and the hotel caters to tourists interested in outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, and kayaking.
Figure 2. Osorno Volcano March 3, 2020
The road from Villa Puella to Puerto Frias winds through the forest along the sides of cliffs. The horizon and even the huge Tronador volcano are obscured, so how someone figured out this route is a marvel. It may have originally been a path of native Americans.
The road crosses the Chile-Argentina border, so shortly after Villa Puella, we cleared Chile Immigration. That left us and our group (and all tourists) in a potential no-man’s land. Our passports had been stamped with the “salida” from Chile, but we were in a forest, and not yet in Argentina. The Argentina Customs and Immigration awaited us further on at Puerto Frias. The metal crates with luggage somehow were there now on a truck, and some of our luggage was randomly selected for customs inspection. Fortunately, this is Chile and Argentina in 2020, so we were not too worried. The last time I was in Chile was 1980, when Pinochet was in charge and Argentina was under the control of a military dictatorship, infamous for the “desaparecidos”. The inspection was indeed perfunctory, and the luggage was returned to the metal crates to continue on its way to Bariloche.
Our last boat cruised the fourth lake, Lago Nahuel Huapi. I am afraid that we were so saturated by all the beauty we had seen that we could not appreciate this final lake. The next day however, we went to the top of a hill near Bariloche and had a glorious view of its remarkable lake and mountain surroundings (Figure 3). This is how Roosevelt described the last lake crossing: “The lake is of bold and irregular outline, with many deep bays, and mountain walls as standing as promontories between the bays. For a couple of hours the scenery was as beautiful as it had been during any part of the two days, especially when we looked back at the mass of snow-shrouded peaks.”

How great that this description remains true more than a century later!
Figure 3. View of the Lake District of Bariloche

A Day Early
by Charlotte Miska

On March 16, 2020, I sighted my first of season osprey in Oyster Bay. It was a day before my traditional benchmark of St. Patrick’s Day. The return of the osprey made me smile as it reinforced my notion that in spite of everything, something is right in this world. The season changes and Mother Nature prevails.

(Photo by Jay McGowan/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology) 
Signs of Spring at SAHI

Cherry Blossoms
Christmas Fern Fiddleheads

Blue Violet

Thank you to Lois Lindberg for sharing her spring sightings.
Friends of Sagamore Hill
Gable Lectures Spring 2020 Canceled
The three Gable Lectures scheduled for Spring 2020 have all been canceled. FOSH hopes to reschedule them at a later date.
The Rough Writer is Available Online
You can find the Rough Writer on the Friends of Sagamore Hill website. Simply select the MORE ABOUT TR menu and click Rough Writer Newsletter. You will go to a page that lists the Rough Writer issues starting with January 2020. Back issues are now readily available for your reading pleasure. Thank you Patrick Teubner for making this happen.
This newsletter is produced by members of the Volunteer Advisory Board for the volunteers of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. 
The National Park Service cares
for the special places saved by
the American people so that all may
experience our heritage.
About Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, located in Oyster Bay, New York, is a unit of the National Park Service. The Site was established by Congress in 1962 to preserve and interpret the structures, landscape, collections and other cultural resources associated with Theodore Roosevelt’s home in Oyster Bay, New York, and to ensure that future generations understand the life and legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, his family and the significant events associated with him.

For more information please check out our website at  or call
(516) 922-4788.

Is the content of this email relevant to you?