Information on Oak Terrace, Eleanor Roosevelt's Childhood Home in Tivoli, New York

by Carrie Currie

Oak Terrace, also referred to as Oak Hall, is a private home in Tivoli, New York, that was the summer residence of the Hall family. Perhaps the best known member of the family was Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and a lifelong advocate for human rights. Eleanor spent summers with her maternal grandmother at the Hall family home, which is perched on the banks of the Hudson River.

Eleanor's Connection to Oak Terrace

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, born on October 11, 1884, was the daughter of Elliot Roosevelt, brother of the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, and Anna Hall Roosevelt, a descendant of Robert R. Livingston a political figure during the Revolutionary War. Eleanor was placed under the care of her maternal grandmother, Mary Livingston Ludlow Hall, known as Grandmother Hall, after the death of her mother in 1892. In 1894, her father died, leaving Eleanor an orphan before her 10th birthday. Grandmother Hall raised Eleanor and her brother. They spent their summers together at Oak Terrace, the family's summer home near the town of Tivoli along the Hudson River.

Eleanor's Time at Oak Terrace

Life at Oak Terrace has been described by multiple biographers as somewhat solitary for young Eleanor. She could enjoy outdoor pursuits such as horseback riding or biking, but was often without playmates as the nearest neighbor her age was five miles away. Her aunts and uncles spent time with her, taking her camping on the grounds and playing with her in her playhouse in the woods, but much of her time was spent alone, which she seemed to relished. Eleanor continued to spend summers at the Tivoli home until her marriage in 1905. Oak Terrace remained in the Hall family until 1934.

Architecture of Oak Terrace

Constructed in 1872, Oak Terrace was built in the Second Empire style with distinctive features that include a mansard roof and an asymmetrically placed square tower. Modeled after the building style of Napoleon III's Paris reconstruction in the mid-1800s, the style shares similarities with Italianate architecture, such as the bracketed eaves. The large home includes 11 bedrooms on three floors plus a basement, two kitchens, 18 marble fireplaces and even a secret staircase. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Location of Oak Terrace

Fronting the Hudson River in Columbia County, Oak Terrace is situated just north of the Village of Tivoli, less than 115 miles from New York City. The estate encompasses land that was once part of the large Livingston Estate, home to Eleanor's maternal ancestors, now part of the Clermont State Historic Site. The privately owned home and 25 acres of the original estate were up for sale as of the date of publication.

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About the Author

Carrie Currie began writing professionally in 1997. She has written for the "Statesville Record and Landmark" and various online publications. After spending seven years in Los Angeles working with film and television writers, Currie spent two years writing in a health care setting. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in communications.