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Pine Knot: Teddy’s Rustic Retreat (in Virginia)

October 3rd, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

When I originally posted this blog, I misidentified the retreat as Pine Knob.

The indefatigable researcher (and old house aficionado) Mark Hardin sent me an email and said, “The name is not Pine Knob, but Pine Knot,” and he also sent me a link that contains much contemporary information about the place, including an address!

This early 20th Century version of Camp David is located at 711 Coles Rolling Road, Keene, Virginia.  According to that website, the 15-acre farm was purchased by Edith Roosevelt (Teddy’s wife) from the estate of William Wilmer, and included a fairly new “worker’s cottage,” which would become their first couple’s little love nest.

It was Edith that named the property, “Pine Knot,” and it was Edith that hired workers to do a little upgrading to the property (although it’s hard to imagine what these “upgrades” could have been).

Total cost of renovations and property: $280.

The website states, “After their first visit there together in June 1905, Teddy Roosevelt wrote to one of his sons, ‘Mother is a great deal more pleased with it than any child with any toy I ever saw.’”

Edith and Teddy’s retreat is (and was) extremely  primitive, lacking indoor plumbing and electricity.

The amazing story of this “new” retreat first appeared in the Spring 1906 issue of American Carpenter and Builder. The article included photos about the new presidential retreat, built for president Theodore Roosevelt (26th president, 1901-1909).

This amazing piece in American Carpenter and Builder also included photos of the staff, and they were a pretty rugged looking group.

To learn more about life in the early 1900s, click here.

To read about Addie Hoyt, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

To read part II of this piece (and see more photos), click here.

Exterior of the Presidential Retreat.

Exterior of the Presidential Retreat. I don't think this would have ever made the cover of "Homes Beautiful."

Interior of the retreat. Note the wood-burning stove.

Interior of the "retreat." Note the wood-burning stove and very primitive furnishings.

The staff is fairly rustic, too.

The staff is fairly rustic, too.

Close-up of the crew at Pine Knob

Close-up of the staff at Pine Knob

Another close-up

Another close-up

Last of three slices of the original photo.

Last of three slices of the original photo.

Original article as it appeared in the 1906 American Carpenter and Builder magazine.

Original article as it appeared in the 1906 American Carpenter and Builder magazine.

part 2 of the original article

part 2 of the original article

And part 3

And part 3

part 4

part 4

And I found this in the December 1905 New York Times.

Whos Kermit?

And I always thought Kermit was a made-up name for a frog!

Part II of this story is here.

To learn about Sears Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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