President Franklin D. Roosevelt designed Top Cottage in Hyde Park, New York retreat himself, making it one of the few presidential residences designed by a president while in office.
Designed to reflect his love of Dutch Colonial architecture and to ensure wheelchair accessibility, the simple, one-story stone building, built in 1938, provided a refuge from the pressures of the presidency.
Historians note that the cottage’s peaceful and remote setting, with views of the Hudson River Valley and Catskills Mountains, served as a precursor to Camp David. Roosevelt entertained many visiting dignitaries at the cottage, including Winston Churchill, during the difficult days of World War II.
In 1996, OSI acquired the cottage to preserve this key piece of presidential history and restoration of the cottage began shortly thereafter. Acquisition of the cottage helped reunite Roosevelt’s retreat with the Roosevelt National Historic Site on the banks of the Hudson River in Dutchess County. OSI also preserved adjacent parcels connecting Top Cottage with Eleanor Roosevelt’s nearby retreat, Val-Kill.