and Dowdell's Knob
This overlook, named Dowdell's Knob, was one of the dearest spots on earth to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Named for an early Harris County family, Dowdell's Knob rises to 1,395 feet above sea level and is the highest point on Pine Mountain. Here,on this rocky mountaintop, the wonder of natural beauty and thesaga of world history combine in a unigue relationship.
A Favorite Spot
In 1924, Roosevelt first visited the nearby town of Warm Springs (then known as Bullochville) seeking treatment for the polio with which he had been stricken three years earlier. This first visit wasRoosevelt's introduction to what would soon become this New York native's beloved "home away from home." It wasn't only the warm waters of the area's natural springs that brought him back here again and again; Roosevelt fell in love with the beauty, tranquility and joy he found on and around Pine Mountain's wooded slopes. With its sweeping view of farmland and forest below, Dowdell's Knob soon became Roosevelt's favorite picnic spot.
Part of the Community
A great champion of "the little man," Roosevelt enjoyed visiting the local communities to talk to the farmers and other rural folk about their view of the world. He also established many lasting friendships among the local residents, including Cason and Virginia Callaway, founders of nearby Callway Gardens.The Callaways enjoyed Roosevelt's company many times during his stays in Georgia.
Little White House
In 1932, the same year he was first elected President of the United States, Roosevelt built his "Little White House" in Warm Springs, where he relished the simplicity and peace of his rural retreat. Here at Dowdell's Knob, Roosevelt spent many relaxing afternoons with family and friends. An avid picnicker, he often would enjoy luncheons spread out under the wide Piedmont sky. Roosevelt always tried to keep his disability hidden from the public, but Dowdell's Knob was one of the few places where he felt at ease and comfortable enough to wear his leg braces outside of his pants.
Finding Comfort in Nature
A weary Rooseveltl was taking a much-needed vacation at the Little White House in the spring of 1945 when, on April 10, he asked his Secret Service agents to drive him out to the point here at Dowdell's Knob. On arrival, he requested that his men leave him alone in the car, walk up the road, and not come back until they heard the car's horn. The President sat here alone in his car contemplating more than we can dare to imagine, for two hours. Surely, the leader of the free world during World War II had many burdens to bear, and the quietness of this place helped to ease them. His love for this place speaks volumes about the man—perhaps, mostly, about his longing for simplicity, beauty and peace.
Just two days later, on April 12, 1945, Roosevelt died of a sudden and massive cerebral hemorrhage while working on a speech and sitting to have his portrait painted at the Little White House. Those last peaceful hours of one of the giants of world history seem to linger here, where the echoes of his era can be heardin the quietness.