Delano Homestead Bed and Breakfast
39 Walnut Street, Fairhaven, MA 02719 508.999.5904 Bed and Breakfast The Homestead
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Warren Delano IDelano Family History | Genealogy | Historical Photo Archive

The Delano Homestead Bed and Breakfast, located at 39 Walnut Street in historic Fairhaven, MA, is a wonderful example of Federal / Greek Revival architecture and Yankee sensibility. Located close to the Fairhaven seaport, not far from what was called the Delano Pier, the home was fashioned by shipbuilders and tells the story of a proud American family descended from Pilgrims and siring two of America's greatest presidents and one of its greatest generals, Ulysses S. Grant.

The Homestead was constructed in 1832 by Warren Delano I, a prominent merchant and sea captain, later to become the great-grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States. Warren I was a descendent of Phillip De La Noye, a Pilgrim who landed in Plymouth in 1621. Phillip De La Noye was one of the original colonists who purchased Dartmouth from the Wompanoag Indians in 1652. At that time, Olde Dartmouth covered the areas now occupied by New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Westport, Acushnet, and part of Tiverton, RI. The Delano Homestead was subsequently occupied by Warren's son, Warren II (FDR's grandfather), and Sara (FDR's mother). Although Sara, as a Roosevelt, lived in Hyde Park, NY, where FDR was born, she and Franklin spent every summer, as well as most major holidays at the family Homestead in Fairhaven, MA. Because Franklin attended the Groton School, in Groton, MA and Harvard University, in Cambridge, MA, he spent much time at the Homestead on weekends and school holidays during his most formative years. For instance, it was at the family's traditional Thanksgiving dinner, held at the homestead in 1903, that Franklin's engagement to Eleanor was first announced.

As the family grew in wealth and prominence, large wings were added to the Homestead in the 1880's until it had become a 30-room mansion with acres of land, stables, formal gardens, a ballroom, and a staff of servants and footmen.

Delano Family Tomb at Riverside CemetaryFranklin and Eleanor continued to visit the Homestead for holidays and burials. The Riverside Cemetery, in Fairhaven, created by Warren Delano II, holds the family tomb. Most of the descendents of Warren I are interred in this tomb, except for Sara Delano Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt who are interred at Hyde Park. Franklin and Eleanor's last visit to the homestead was in October 21, 1936. On this date, then United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Franklin's mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, met for lunch at 39 Walnut Street.

After the death of Sara Delano Roosevelt in 1941, the Delano Homestead was sold at auction. he two, large,"newer" wings were removed from the home and repositioned on the property, which was subdivided for sale. The original 10-room, 3,800 square foot house, built in 1835, remains on its original foundation, looking today much as it did when it was built by Warren Delano I. It is this home that is currently operating as a Bed and Breakfast.

The Delano Homestead Bed and Breakfast is decorated with period furnishings, has lovely gardens, a conservatory,a greenhouse, and commanding views of the Millicent Library, Fairhaven's Town Hall, and several churches, including the first Unitarian Church on the corner of Washington and Walnut Streets, built by Warren I, which now serves as a maritime academy. The home is within walking distance of restaurants, shops, parks, the town fishing piers, the bicycle path, the ocean and the beach. It is located on a quiet, safe, neighborhood street, directly in the center of town. The 10 buildings viewable from the homestead were all built in the 19th century. Except for the paved streets, the neighborhood looks much as it did 100 years ago.

 

 

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