Roosevelt Campobello International Park

Across the narrows from the most eastern point in the US is Roosevelt Campobello International Park in New Brunswick, Canada. The site’s two unique qualities are that it served as the summer home of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt even though it is actually in Canada; and second, it the only park in the world owned by two countries and administered by a joint commission in their name. The park is owned, funded and staffed by the Roosevelt Campobello International Commission, established by the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Act (Pub.L. 88-363) on July 7, 1964 pursuant to an agreement between the United States and Canada.

Made up of five turn-of-the-century cottages, the Park centerpiece is the FDR summer home, a magnificent two story 34-room residence where as President, FDR returned to his summer home for three brief visits: in 1933, 1936, and 1939. Before that, Franklin, Eleanor, and their growing family spent summers from 1909 to 1921 the year he fell ill with the polio virus at the age of 39. This tragic event occured one year after the former New York State Senator and Governor ran unsuccessfully for vice-president. In that campaign, FDR, who had been Assistant Secretrary of the Navy, faced accusations by the publisher of the Providence Journal that he had mishandled the Navy’s first national gay sex scandal. For more, see William N. Eskridge, Jr., Law and the Construction of the Closet: American Regulation of Same-Sex Intimacy, 1880-1946, 82 Iowa L. Rev. 1007 at 1049 (1997). On the eve of the election, FDR filed a $500,000 libel suit against the paper’s publisher but did not pursue it.

In addition to the Roosevelt Cottage are the Prince, Hubbard, Wells-Shober and Johnston Cottages redone and furnished to provide overnight accommodations for conference participants in the Park. At the Edmund S. Muskie Visitor Center, there are panels, displays, and a short video of the Roosevelt story from the time Franklin Roosevelt and his parents first visited Campobello through his battle with polio, his presidency, and the establishment of the Park. There are also major flower gardens, and a network of wooded paths, including a 2,800-acre natural area with sand beaches, walking bogs and vistas from ocean headlands.

A passport or official photo ID is required to get back into the United States after visiting the park. More information about the park, including hours of operation and border crossing tips, can be found at the Roosevelt Campobello International Commission website.