The Sawkill Creek - Preserving & Enhancing Nature’s Beauty

The Sawkill Creek

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Preserving & Enhancing Nature’s Beauty

As a child in the 1860s, the future conservationist and president Theodore Roosevelt spent a few summers on an estate his parents rented in Barrytown, close to Montgomery Place.

Some historians claim that his lifelong interest in the out-of-doors and the natural world was awakened here.

The young Roosevelt documented his ramblings in his diary and through letters written to his nanny back home in Manhattan. He found the Sawkill a fascinating place both scientifically and aesthetically, instilling in him a sense of place.

After exploring the mouth of the Sawkill in his canoe, Roosevelt created a sketch that depicted two features of this ornamental landscape: a series of steps running along the cataract and a rustic bridge with summer house spanning the Sawkill.  

Theodore Roosevelt. Albumen print, 1870. Houghton Library, Harvard University.

“Rowing to the Bottom of the Sawkill Falls” from “My Expeditions and Adventures,” a childhood diary by Theodore Roosevelt, c. 1870. Houghton Library, Harvard University.