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On March 29, 1945, FDR left the White House for the last time on a trip to Warm Springs, Georgia. He had first visited Warm Springs in the mid-1920s after hearing that the waters there had healing powers.  He hoped they would help him regain the use of his legs which were left paralyzed from a polio attack in 1921.

In 1926, FDR bought and renovated the old resort at Warm Springs, turning it into a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center for polio patients. Throughout his time as Governor of New York and President, FDR continued vacationing at Warm Springs. The cottage where he stayed became known as the “Little White House,” thanks to his frequent visits as president.

It was here that FDR went in April 1945 to rest and rejuvenate following the pressures of the 1944 campaign, the Yalta Conference, and the continued war effort.  On April 12, 1945, while sitting for a portrait by painter Elizabeth Shoumatoff, FDR suffered a massive stroke. He died a few hours later having never regained consciousness.

The President’s body was transported by train to Washington D.C. and then on to his estate in Hyde Park for burial. Thousands of mourners lined the tracks to say goodbye.

The White House appointment diaries for April 12, 1945 are available on our Franklin D. Roosevelt Day by Day website.

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