Legends of Lucknow: Teddy Roosevelt’s Financial Advice to Tom Plant?

By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 8/11/2020

Legends of Lucknow is a segment of the Castle theme that will explore stories that have been handed down through generations surrounding lucknow estate. Some of these stories hold truth, others we are still seeking evidence for. what rumors, legends and stories have you heard about castle in the clouds?


Main Hall of Lucknow Estate. Image taken from 1924 real estate advertisement. Image showcases the tiger, cheetah and bear skin rugs on the floor surrounding the pool table.

One of the many legends that guests discuss at the Castle is Tom’s friendship with President Theodore Roosevelt. Some of the folklore around this relationship includes:

  • The President visited Lucknow Mansion, staying in the Brown Guest room, at some point while Tom and Olive resided here (published last month, see green tab below to read the post!)
  • The President personally recommended that Tom invest in the Russian economy prior to the economic collapse, in turn accelerating Tom’s legendary financial demise. As an apology for Tom losing money in the investment, the President bought Tom a bear rug which laid in the Main Hall.

Last month’s post explained that we do not believe Tom Plant and Teddy Roosevelt knew each other personally, and that it’s very unlikely that Roosevelt visited Lucknow Mansion despite the generational legends of their friendship and stories of them hunting together. Staff at the National Park Service have confirmed that there is no correspondence or other documentation in their Roosevelt archives or in the Library of Congress collections to confirm an acquaintance between Plant and Roosevelt.

The other rumor surrounding their relationship is that Teddy Roosevelt personally encouraged Tom’s investment into the Russian economy which in turn lead to Tom’s legendary financial ruin. Research shows that Teddy whilst selling war bonds during World War I may have also made a generalized announcement over the radio encouraging those who are able, to invest in the Russian economy. We believe it may have been at this encouragement that Tom invested in Russian bonds. Unfortunately, the 1917 Russian Revolution led to the collapse of the Russian economy and Tom only made a fraction back on his investment.

Given that we don’t have information to support Tom’s relationship with Teddy it’s unlikely that Teddy gifted a bear skin rug to Tom as an apology for advising him to invest in the Russian bonds. We understand that Tom had a few bear and tiger skin rugs in the Main Hall – helping to give the impression of a French or English hunting lodge or game room.

As always, research into these legends is ongoing. If you have any evidence to support one of the Legends of Lucknow, please feel free to share it with us. Do you think Teddy encouraged Tom to invest in the Russian Bonds?


NOTE: We are now open! Please click here for our updated policy and procedures ahead of your visit!
NOTE: We are now open! Please click here for our updated policy and procedures ahead of your visit!