Friday, September 25, 2009

Theodore Roosevelt Cage Match

At the time of his death more than ninety years ago, Theodore Roosevelt was apparently thought of as a dangerous man. I mean, why else would you surround his grave with a seven-foot high wrought-iron fence topped with spikes and a deadbolt lock on the gate? What kind of effect did he have on the villagers of Oyster Bay that they would feel the need to keep his mortal remains isolated from the rest of the cemetery?

They built the cage on the top of a hill at the back of the cemetery, far away from the sight of the road. In fact, if it weren't for all the signs pointing to Sagamore Hill, and the Theodore Roosevelt Bird Sanctuary nearby, and the big parking lot with the directions to the gravesite, you'd never know the 26th president of the United States was here at all.

May 12, 2009

Or is he? Perhaps the cage wasn't meant to symbolize the public's final and everlasting restraint of tyranny, nor was it meant to contain TR's vengeful soul or to keep his zombified remains from terrorizing the local citizenry with a big stick, as was originally reported back in 1919. Perhaps instead, it was built to keep the curious and the deranged from digging up the casket to affirm the identity of the contents; to hold the pince-nez and finger his watch chain. Maybe they'd take some dental impressions, too. If there's even a body in there, and not just a pile of rocks, which, according to a new internet theory that Theodore Roosevelt faked his own death, is what you'll find.

I like the idea of a zombie TR wandering the forests in a pair of khaki jodhpurs better, though.

(Author's Note:  Very little of the above is intended to have any historical accuracy.)


Gemma Wiseman said...

Interesting to see such a tall caged effect round a president! Like keeping a wild and dangerous animal restrained. But as you say, the wild and dangerous animal could be the public, not the president. A two-way fence happening here!

Ann said...

Very unusual. Never seen anything like that at all. Like Gemma's suggestion about keeping people out rather than Roosevelt in.

Sondra said...

The Yarn you spun was so entertaining....I enjoyed it!!!
Oyster Bay is if I recall correctly, a well to do area...but who knows a grave robber could be among them.

Jim said...


The Paw Relations said...

"nor was it meant to contain TR's vengeful soul or to keep his zombified remains from terrorizing the local citizenry with a big stick, as was originally reported back in 1919."

That is a shame, because I quite liked the sound of that too.

Fantastic pictures and a great post.

Herding Cats

Oakland Daily Photo said...

I liked your yarn too. Fervent imagination. But then Teddy was bigger than life. Or so it seems.

Deb said...

Interesting post and vivid imagination at work here, you may have created a new Urban Myth!

Kathy said...

Or again, building wrought iron fences around graves was quite common during that period of time, albeit this one is a bit tall. I'll think of it as a fence rather than a cage.

Steffe said...

Unusual indeed. In Stockholm they have opened an old grave where a King supposedly had been buried, but it turned out to be someone else.

Julie said...

I had to chuckle when I reached your disclaimer. There is very little understanding of either humour or irony on the internet!

I think the high wall, and the general demeanor of the area, enhances the enduring reputation of TR, rather than the reverse. I also agree that there are nutters out there ...

Whenever I hear of TR, I have a flood of images of Cary Grant in the film 'Arsenic and Old Lace'.

Once again, Neil, few of us tell these yarns as well as you yourself. Thank you.