Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation
The Roosevelt Warm Springs Creek Indians brought ailing warriors to bathe in the springs to heal their wounds and spirits. The earliest known resort at Warm Springs dates to 1832, just four years after the establishment of Meriwether County. Cabins and a tavern housed as many as 200 people. Even more visitors could be accommodated after a rambling Victorian structure, the Meriwether Inn, was built in 1869.
The pools Savannah before beginning to decline in the early twentieth century. Then, in the early 1920s, a young engineer named Louis Joseph, who had relatives in west Georgia, experienced remarkable recovery from the debilitating effects of polio after exercising at the pools. George Foster Peabody, a New Yorker and native Georgian who owned part interest in the springs, invited Franklin D. Roosevelt to visit.
Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1920, had contracted polio in 1921. Three years later
In 1926 Roosevelt invested two-thirds of his savings in property at Warm Springs and incorporated the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation in 1927. An enclosed pool funded by automotive pioneer Henry Ford's son Edsel was added, and improvements began to be made. Physicians and physiotherapists worked with Roosevelt to develop muscle exercises. The "spirit of Warm Springs" became firmly entrenched as patients relearned to function in society and to laugh and enjoy life. Roosevelt's experiences at Warm Springs during the 1920s were dramatized in the film Warm Springs (2005), produced by Home Box Office and starring Kenneth Branagh as Roosevelt and Cynthia Nixon as his wife, Eleanor.
In 1980 the facility was renamed the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, which is administered today by the Georgia Department of Labor. The institute encompasses 940 acres. New facilities have been added, and patients with post-polio symptoms, spinal cord injuries, strokes, and other disabilities find treatment at Warm Springs.
Media Gallery: Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation