Historic Monument - Theodore Roosevelt Monument, Tenafly

The Theodore Roosevelt Monument in Tenafly (Bergen County) was created in 1928 on land donated by Jenny McKay and her brother Malcolm McKay to the Tenafly Board of Education. The sculpture and relief carving were created by the sculptor Trygve Hammer and his assistant, Fritz Hammargren.

The monument is made of limestone and features reliefs of animals and birds as well as two life-sized sculptural bears. The depiction of these animals serves as a reminder of President Theodore Roosevelt's dedication to the conservation of nature and wildlife. Of all memorials to Roosevelt, the Tenafly monument is the only one that specifically acknowledges his passion for nature.

Inscribed plaques, carved animals, capstone steps, and benches also make this Roosevelt monument different from others. The rounded backdrop of the monument is unlike any other presidential monument. The platform, benches, and reliefs are made of limestone and assorted colored slates.

The Roosevelt Monument in Tenafly has faced considerable erosion and vandalism over the years. The most recent restoration of the monument was undertaken in 2005. In 2006 it was nominated to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.

Theodore Roosevelt Monument, 1928, Tenafly (Bergen County). Photo source: (see link below).

Detail of Theodore Roosevelt Monument, Tenafly. Photo source: (see link below).

Theodore Roosevelt (known as "Teddy") was born in New York in 1858 to Martha Bullock and Theodore Roosevelt. As a child growing up he was very sickly, suffering from asthma, stomach pain, and headaches. As a young man he engaged in many activities from outdoor activities and reading to politics.

At the age of 42 Roosevelt became the youngest president in the history of America. He would serve for two terms. During his career Roosevelt achieved early prominence as Governor of New York and as a leader in the Spanish American War. His legacy includes breaking up business trusts and monopolies, construction of the Panama Canal, creating acres of national parks including the Grand Canyon, creation of the U.S. Forest Service, and more. Roosevelt was the first president to be awarded a Novel Prize, to ride in an automobile, to travel outside the United States, and to coin a trademark, "good to the last drop," at the Maxwell House Hotel in Tennessee.

Theodore Roosevelt was also a professional historian, attorney, naturalist, and explorer. He wrote 35 books on natural history and the outdoors, the American frontier, and naval and political history.

As a tribute, Roosevelt's face is carved on Mount Rushmore along with Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington. Other commemorative parks and monuments were created in remembrance of his service and goodwill, including the monument in Tenafly, New Jersey. The children's toy called the "Teddy Bear" was named in his honor.

(Joan Walsh, Spring 2009)



Roosevelt biography on

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