A History of New York State Infrastructure and Buildings Named for Franklin D. Roosevelt

By Stephen Martin, Director of Design & Planning

Franklin D. Roosevelt was a son of New York State. Born in Hyde Park he served as a New York State senator from 1911 to 1913 and as the state’s governor from 1929 until his election to U.S. president in 1932. As a champion of the Empire State, there are countless incredible buildings, infrastructural elements, hospitals and schools named for him scattered across the state. Below is a compilation of New York state infrastructure and buildings named for the 32nd President. 

We continue to learn about additional namesakes often and we invite you to send us any that we have not listed here. We’d love to know how your town or city has memorialized the president! 

1. Franklin D. Roosevelt Island, New York City, New York

© Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan

We could not begin this list with any place other than Franklin D. Roosevelt Island, home of Four Freedoms Park. This two-mile island, situated between Manhattan and Queens, has been known throughout history by many different names including Minnehanonck, Varkens Eylandt, Blackwell‍ ' Island, and Welfare Island. On September 24, 1973, however, it was renamed for President Roosevelt. On that day, former Mayor Lindsay proclaimed, “it is altogether appropriate that Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose vision and vivacity re-invigorates and inspires this nation, should have named for him an island which is at last being reclaimed by and for the people of the City of New York.”

2. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York

© Library of Congress

© Library of Congress

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is the very first presidential library in the United States and was designed, in-part, by FDR. Like all U.S. presidential libraries, it is named for the president whose records it holds. Construction of the library and museum began in 1939 and it opened to the public in 1941 while Roosevelt was still in office. The library includes papers from all of Roosevelt’s political terms, including his time as a New York senator, as assistant secretary of the Navy, as governor, and as president. In 2010, the library underwent a major restoration complete with the installation of new permanent museum exhibits and upgraded visitor amenities.

 

3. Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park, New York

© FDR Library

© FDR Library

Run by the National Parks Service, the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site preserves the 800 acres known as the Springwood estate in Hyde Park, New York. Springwood was the birthplace and burial place of President Roosevelt and was also considered his lifelong home. In this photograph is the Roosevelt family seated on one of the lawns of Springwood, taken September 21, 1934. The Springwood estates were established as a National Historic Site in 1945.

4. Franklin D. Roosevelt Station Post Office, New York City, New York

At Third Avenue and 54th Street in Manhattan sits a two-floor post office officially known as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Station. The building was built in 1968 by the architecture firm Emery Roth & Sons, a New York-based architecture firm that designed other notable New York City structures like the Ritz Hotel Tower and the Eldorado and San Remo apartment towers. The entire building, which is 32 floors in height, measures 1.3 million square-feet and features a modern exterior waffle pattern on its higher floors. At ground level rests Red Flying Group, a painted-red aluminum public art installation by the artist Ann Gillen.

5. Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge, between Poughkeepsie and Highland, New York

© FDR Library

© FDR Library

© Library of Congress

© Library of Congress

The Mid-Hudson Bridge, which connects New York State’s Ulster County to Dutchess Country, and spans the Hudson River, opened to car traffic on August 25, 1930. Photographed here is Eleanor Roosevelt at the opening ceremony with the engineers of the structure. The bridge, which is 3,000 feet in length, is a parallel wire cable suspension bridge and its construction was completed by the New York State Department of Public Works. It was only in 1994 that the bridge was officially dedicated for Franklin D. Roosevelt.

6. Roosevelt House, New York City, New York

When Franklin and Eleanor were newlyweds they moved into 47-49 East 65th Street in Manhattan. The house was a gift to the couple by Franklin’s mother, Sara. Sara had purchased two side-by-side townhomes on 65th Street, demolished them and then hired renowned architect Charles A. Platt to build two new townhomes hidden behind one façade where the original structures once stood. Townhome 47 would be for Sara and 49 for the newlyweds. The building is now known as Roosevelt House and has been a part of the Hunter College system since 1943. Roosevelt House is a public policy institute honoring the legacy of both Franklin and Eleanor. Photographed here is the building in 1933.

7. Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, Hyde Park, New York

The original Franklin D. Roosevelt High School (which now functions as Haviland Middle School) is located in Hyde Park and was dedicated by President Roosevelt in 1940. It graduated its first class of high school seniors the following year in 1941. Its exterior walls are made of local Dutchess County fieldstone, specified by Roosevelt himself. Roosevelt attended and spoke at the school’s dedication on October 5, 1940, pictured here.

8. Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, Brooklyn, New York

The Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn was founded in 1965 and celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. The public high school is run by New York City’s Department of Education and has roughly 3,700 students. In honor of this important anniversary, one alum published a terrific album offering a look at school-life in the 1970s, pictured here is a scene from the cafeteria, but you can find the entire album here.  

9. Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive, New York, New York

This nine and a half mile parkway runs roughly the length of Manhattan’s eastside. Originally it was named the East River Drive and was later renamed for Franklin D. Roosevelt. The parkway was designed by Robert Moses and its construction began in 1934. You can find a fuller and fascinating history of this important infrastructural element here.

10. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Campus (Veterans Administration Hospital), Montrose, New York

© Veteran's Administration

© Veteran's Administration

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Campus is located along the Hudson River and is part of the Veterans Administration hospital system. On September 26, 1945, shortly after Roosevelt’s death, President Harry Truman officially designated the building the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Veterans Administration Hospital. This hospital was the first Veterans Affairs hospital named for a U.S. president.

11. Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, Yorktown Heights, New York

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park is an 840-acre park located in Yorktown Heights approximately 40 miles north of New York City. This state park is managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is located on Mohansic Lake and Crom Pond. It also includes a swimming pool which fits 3,500 bathers at a time! Civilian Conservation Corps' Camp 52 was situated at this location during the New Deal and many original CCC building still exist. It opened in 1922 and was named for President Roosevelt in 1982.