The Hudson Valley almost became the center of the world.

Back in the 1940s, a committee was set up to lobby the government about a grand idea of constructing a meeting place for all of the nations of the world in Hyde Park, New York.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a huge proponent of the United Nations. While he didn't live to see it come to fruition, just after his death Hyde Park began plans to transform the entire town to accommodate the project.

A proposal from the Committee Sponsoring Hyde Park for United Nations Organization Headquarters lays out elaborate plans that include the construction of an airfield, new roads and infrastructure.

The plans, available from the National Archives, include a future map of Hyde Park with a new air field and proposed roads near the Roosevelt Estate.

National Archives
National Archives

Other considerations were made to host the United Nations while a permanent home was being built. The plan included the use of office space in the City of Poughkeepsie and dorm rooms at Vassar College to house diplomats during construction.

Hyde Park was suggested because, as the committee pointed out, it was the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and had been used in the past as a "temporary White House." The proposal pointed out that world leaders were already used to visiting Hyde Park, and would be comfortable with the area and its people.

Another reason the committee gave for building the United Nations in Hyde Park was because of the people who live in Dutchess County. Residents were described as being intelligent and well-versed in international affairs. The document outlined local residents' impressive access to news.

They are a people of high cultural background, with constant access to press and radio, and are surrounded by schools and universities of the highest standing. All of these factors have created a broad and liberal attitude toward world affairs.


National Archives
National Archives

Unfortunately, the plan was ultimately rejected and the United Nations was built in New York City after John D. Rockefeller Jr. offered to donate $8.5 million to purchase the land. More offices were eventually built in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna, and The Hague, but nothing in Hyde Park.

Who knows what the Hudson Valley would look like today if the UN was located in Dutchess County? It's hard to imagine how different the small town of Hyde Park would be but one thing's for sure; traffic would be even worse than it is now.

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