Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FDR Memorial on Swamp Rabbit Trail

Greenville's Swamp Rabbit Trail was first a railroad bed before it was recycled for use as a recreational trail. This modest stone memorial to President Roosevelt is on the trail, and I wanted to share it.

It's one of those charming, amazing little snapshots of history.

The marker reads:


1882 - 1945

While serving as the 32nd president of the United States, Roosevelt led our country through the Great Depression and World War II. He died while in office on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.

Near this site on April 13, 1945 the funeral train carrying the body of Franklin Delano Roosevelt stopped at the Greenville station on its way to Washington, DC. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was aboard the train along with FDR's beloved Scottish Terrier Fala.

A crowd of more than 15,000 mourners gathered in final tribute and to show respect to Mrs Roosevelt. Soldiers lined the tracks for a mile north and south of the station. A telegram listing the names of family, friends and dignitaries who would attend FDR's funeral in Hyde Park, NY, was sent from the station.

Mayor C. Fred McCollough presented two floral wreaths to Presidential Secretary Steve Early. The wreaths were put inside the funeral car, one placed on top of the flag-draped casket.

Children began singing 'Onward Christian Soldiers' and the large crowd quickly joined in as the train slowly pulled away from the station.


At that time, the population of the city of Greenville was only around 35,000; Greenville County's entire population was approx 140,000.

In light of that, 15,000 mourners is an astronomical number.


JoJo said...

That's pretty neat!

Virgil Barrett said...

This is pretty cool, thanks for sharing. I was ignorant of this story - it gives the trail a lot more meaning and value, doesn't it? The next time I walk it, I will be unable to stop myself from picturing all the soldiers and civilians lined up for miles. . . It's always amazing to get an idea of the historical ghosts you may be passing by - a little nugget of history that took place right here in our humble home.

Jugnuts said...

I grew up on one of the mill-hills that the trail passes by. Lots of memories every time I ride the trail.I can remember as a kid going down to the then active tracks and watching the Forth of July fireworks from the old Meadow Brook ballpark

Gorgeous Gregg said...

I am loving these comments, and yes, an almost 50% turn out to pay your respects, pretty damn amazing. I know there were those who opposed Roosevelt, but to hear him and his programs attacked these days you would think they would be lucky to have one or two turn out. I wish the old folks were better able to tell their stories, because I feel sure lots of people have no idea how important he was to the poor and average folks of his time.

Maybe we should find a way to get to some old people in Spartanburg and interview them for Occupy the Microphone! Someone in her seventies might well remember that day.