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Kickoff For 50th Anniversary Celebration Of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

Ceremonies on the piazza commemorate transfer from TRA to NPS

The National Park Service (NPS) is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (SHNHS) on Saturday, July 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. In July, 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed the legislation to transfer Sagamore Hill, the Long Island home of Theodore Roosevelt, from the Theodore Roosevelt Association (TRA) to the American people, to be administered by the NPS.

The July 28th kickoff to a year-long celebration is free and features unique events that will commemorate this significant occasion.

The main program begins at 2 p.m. on the porch (or “piazza,” as Theodore Roosevelt referred to it) of the Theodore Roosevelt home and will include a presentation of the colors ceremony by the Girl Scouts of Nassau County, a patriotic musical program, and an address by James Foote portraying TR. Various intriguing speakers will highlight the history of Sagamore Hill and also the TR Birthplace in Manhattan, first as family homes, then as properties managed by the TRA, and finally as NPS sites.

Highlights of the main program include a reading of a poem commissioned specifically for this anniversary, written and presented by the 2011-2013 Nassau County Poet Laureate Linda Opyr, and musical selections performed by the South Shore Brass Ensemble. Dr. Opyr, a lifelong resident of Long Island and visitor to Sagamore Hill, is the author of seven collections of poetry. Her poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Atlanta Review, and The New York Times.

Based in Dix Hills, the South Shore Brass Ensemble, 13 performers strong, has been entertaining audiences for over 25 years, and is known for an amazing musical repertoire, from chorales to dances to ragtime and orchestral transcriptions, classical works, marches, swing, and Broadway, popular and holiday music.

For the first time at Sagamore Hill, Peter Dilg, an antique photograph and gramophone expert specializing in Edison wax cylinder acoustic recordings and recording equipment, will record Mr. Foote, speaking as TR, on a wax cylinder. The recording session will be done as it was originally at the Thomas Edison Laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey in 1885, the year Sagamore Hill was constructed on the highest point of Cove Neck near the hamlet of Oyster Bay. Mr. Dilg has been recording with original Edison equipment for over 40 years. Some of the personalities he has recorded on wax include Les Paul, Wynton Marsalis, Hillary Clinton (when she was first lady), Vince Giordano and his Night Hawks, and Peter, Paul and Mary. He has worked on several projects with the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, including restoring the soundtrack for the first talking picture, Dickson’s Violin.

Children of all ages will enjoy Musician/Author/Storyteller Johnny Cuomo, who will entertain everyone with two programs of songs and stories, including one about Theodore Roosevelt and the “Teddy” bear. Mr. Cuomo has traveled throughout the United States and internationally for 15 years, writing and performing folk, rock and Irish music. He accompanies his own well-loved folk and nature tales and stories by performing on the guitar, banjo, Irish flute, penny whistle, mandolin and harmonica, at times he even includes an animal hand puppet or two in his charming program.

Postal Collectors

For those who value collectibles, a postal cachet designed especially for the 50th anniversary year, will be available for purchase in the park Visitor Center. Additionally, a postal mobile unit, courtesy of the Oyster Bay Post Office, will be parked just outside the Visitor Center to cancel the cachets, creating a special keepsake of the day.

Additional 50th anniversary events at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site will be announced throughout the anniversary year (July 2012-July 2013).

Sagamore Hill will be open seven days per week during the summer. We remind visitors that the Theodore Roosevelt home is temporarily closed due to a complete rehabilitation. We encourage visitors to experience other attractions on the site, including the Theodore Roosevelt Museum at Old Orchard and the site’s nature trail. Ranger programs are offered daily. The grounds of Sagamore Hill are open year round from sunrise to sunset.

For further information, visit our website at nps.gov/sahi, or call 922-4788.