Charles Glenn was the second owner of the Hardaway Cottage. He was the head of a fascinating family during a critical period in U.S. and Warm Springs history. Charles and his wife Cathron had four children; three daughters and a son. During WWII the household included Charles and Cathron Glenn, their children; Cathron Glenn Trepagnier, Eleanor Glenn O’Neill, Ann Glenn Corey, and Alexander Lindsey Glenn, as well as grandchildren including the daughter of Cathron Glenn Trepagnier, Cathron Birge who has been communicating with me. In fact, I would consider their time at the Hardaway to be during the “Golden Years” of Polio treatment in Warm Springs.
The Glenns purchased the home because of the mobility needs of both Cathron Glenn, Charles’s wife, and his son Alexander. Cathron had rheumatoid arthritis. The elevator was very helpful for her, and in addition their youngest child and only boy Alexander had polio. He received treatment for his polio at the foundation, as it was known at that time. Sometime during the 1940s the Glenn family added a bedroom and handicapped bathroom on the main floor of the home for Alexander. This handicapped access was very unusual for the time period. In fact, all the historic homes on the grounds of the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation are handicapped accessible.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to communicate with Cathron Birge, the oldest grandchild of Charles and Cathron Glenn. She was kind enough to share some of her memories with me. She was born at a local hospital in Manchester, GA and brought home to a cottage on the grounds of the institute. Within just a few months the entire family moved into the Hardaway Cottage. She remembers that during her childhood the Hardaway Cottage and the Little White House shared a telephone party line. Also, when FDR was not in town his cook, Daisy Bonner, cooked for the Glenn family. Cathron Birge was not sure if her grandfather and FDR knew each other prior to their purchase of the Hardaway Cottage. But it seems likely that FDR was acquainted with the Glenn family since they were neighbors, and Alex received treatment at the institute. During the 1940’s the institute hosted a fund raiser every Thanksgiving, and during one such dinner Alexander was seated at the head table with FDR and was photographed with him.
Another interesting fact about Charles Glenn is that he commuted between Warm Springs, GA and Oak Ridge, TN for work. Oak Ridge was a government created and planned city for the development of the Atom Bomb. This information sent me on a quest for additional information. The book, City Behind a Fence, chronicles the creation of the city and the lives of the men, women and children who lived there. During the 1940’s when Oak Ridge was in full swing they never were able to keep up with the demand for housing. It makes sense that Charles would have commuted. With the medical and mobility issues of Alexander and Cathron, and the number of family members there would not have been housing available for the Glenn family.
I have been thrilled to learn about the Glenn family and the history of the Hardaway Cottage. I hope someday to host Cathron Birge and any other Glenn family members. It will be so much fun to hear in person their memories, and you can bet we will get a lot of pictures!