Found in the Archives

The Olympic Torch Stopped in Hyde Park

Excitement over the present-day Summer Games of the XXX Olympiad reminded us that the famous torch once paid a visit to the FDR Home and Library.  

On February 4, 1932, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt formally opened the III Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY.

FDR opens the 1932 Winter Olympics
FDR at the opening ceremony for the 1932 Winter Olympics. NPx 55-34.

On February 5, 1980, the Olympic torch relay carried the flame for the XIII Olympic Winter Games through the town of Hyde Park, NY before continuing northward to Lake Placid. The runners paused at FDR’s grave site for a torch lighting ceremony where they lit a 7-foot tall stationary torch commemorating the former Governor and President’s role in opening the 1932 Games,  nearly 50 years prior.

Joan Barnum, a Hyde Park resident who coordinated the event, said the flame brought a “message of peace, truth, fraternity and love,” consistent with the Roosevelt legacy. Around 600 people attended the ceremony and observed a minute of silence to honor both the former President and the symbolic lighting.  The graveside torch remained lit throughout the 1980 Winter Games.

1980 Torch lighting ceremony
1980 Torch lighting ceremony. NPx 80-107(19).

One thought on “Found in the Archives

  1. I have to wonder if there are ANY artifacts at the FDR Presidential Library that show what Franklin Delano Roosevelt wrote to others, any artifacts that tell what he did or what policies he believed in, or what words he uttered.

    We see so much of what others wrote to FDR or gave to FDR, or what others said to FDR, but almost nothing that tells the story of what FDR did or wrote or created or made or said– and I have to wonder why.

    Is it that the staffers don’t know anything about FDR that they think is worth passing along?

    Is it that they want him to pass from the public consciousness?

    Is it that they really prefer a different president and are just working at the FDR Library for the salary and benefits it provides?

    Why do they NOT think the story of FDR’s life and legacy is an exciting story that others might want to know about?

    Almost every poll shows that historians consider FDR one of the top three presidents in American history; some rank him first. Only the FDR Library staffers seem disinterested in him.

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