The White House


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Earliest known photograph of the White House, taken c. The location of the White House was questioned, just north of a canal and swampy lands, which provided conditions ripe for malaria and other unhealthy conditions. He proposed abandoning the use of the White House as a residence and designed a new estate for the first family at Meridian Hill in Washington, D.

When Chester A.


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Arthur took office in , he ordered renovations to the White House to take place as soon as the recently widowed Lucretia Garfield moved out. Arthur inspected the work almost nightly and made several suggestions. Louis Comfort Tiffany was asked to send selected designers to assist. Over twenty wagonloads of furniture and household items were removed from the building and sold at a public auction. In the fall of work was done on the main corridor, including tinting the walls pale olive and adding squares of gold leaf , and decorating the ceiling in gold and silver, and colorful traceries woven to spell "USA".

The Red Room was painted a dull Pomeranian red, and its ceiling was decorated with gold, silver, and copper stars and stripes of red, white, and blue. A fifty-foot jeweled Tiffany glass screen, supported by imitation marble columns, replaced the glass doors that separated the main corridor from the north vestibule. In , First Lady Caroline Harrison proposed major extensions to the White House, including a National Wing on the east for a historical art gallery, and a wing on the west for official functions.

Bingham, which reflected the Harrison proposal. Wyeth to add additional space to the West Wing, which included the addition of the Oval Office. Decades of poor maintenance, the construction of a fourth story attic during the Coolidge administration, and the addition of a second-floor balcony over the south portico for Harry S. Truman [49] took a great toll on the brick and sandstone structure built around a timber frame. Much of the original plasterwork, some dating back to the — rebuilding, was too damaged to reinstall, as was the original robust Beaux Arts paneling in the East Room.

President Truman had the original timber frame sawed into paneling; the walls of the Vermeil Room , Library , China Room , and Map Room on the ground floor of the main residence were paneled in wood from the timbers. Jacqueline Kennedy , wife of President John F. Kennedy —63 , directed a very extensive and historic redecoration of the house. She enlisted the help of Henry Francis du Pont of the Winterthur Museum to assist in collecting artifacts for the mansion, many of which had once been housed there. Antique furniture was acquired, and decorative fabric and trim based on period documents was produced and installed.

The Kennedy restoration resulted in a more authentic White House of grander stature, which recalled the French taste of Madison and Monroe.

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The wallpaper had hung previously on the walls of another mansion until when that house was demolished for a grocery store. Just before the demolition, the wallpaper was salvaged and sold to the White House. The first White House guidebook was produced under the direction of curator Lorraine Waxman Pearce with direct supervision from Mrs. Kennedy showed her restoration of the White House to the public in a televised tour of the house on Valentine's Day in Congress enacted legislation in September declaring the White House a museum.

Furniture, fixtures, and decorative arts could now be declared either historic or of artistic interest by the president.


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  4. This prevented them from being sold as many objects in the executive mansion had been in the past years. When not in use or display at the White House, these items were to be turned over to the Smithsonian Institution for preservation, study, storage, or exhibition. The White House retains the right to have these items returned.

    Out of respect for the historic character of the White House, no substantive architectural changes have been made to the house since the Truman renovation. Charged with maintaining the historical integrity of the White House, the congressionally authorized committee works with each First Family—usually represented by the first lady, the White House curator , and the chief usher —to implement the family's proposals for altering the house. Nixon's efforts brought more than artifacts to the house, the largest acquisition by any administration.

    Computers and the first laser printer were added during the Carter administration, and the use of computer technology was expanded during the Reagan administration. The White House became one of the first wheelchair-accessible government buildings in Washington when modifications were made during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt , who used a wheelchair because of his paralytic illness. Bates, approved the addition of a ramp in the East Wing corridor. It allowed easy wheelchair access for the public tours and special events that enter through the secure entrance building on the east side.

    In , the Bush administration reinstalled solar thermal heaters. The changes were not publicized as a White House spokeswoman said the changes were an internal matter. The story was picked up by industry trade journals. Today the group of buildings housing the presidency is known as the White House Complex. The Chief Usher coordinates day to day household operations. The original residence is in the center. Two colonnades —one on the east and one on the west—designed by Jefferson, now serve to connect the East and West Wings added later.

    The Executive Residence houses the president's dwelling, as well as rooms for ceremonies and official entertaining. Bush's workout room. The West Wing houses the president's office the Oval Office and offices of his senior staff, with room for about 50 employees. It also includes the Cabinet Room , where the president conducts business meetings and where the Cabinet meets, [77] as well as the White House Situation Room , James S. The Oval Office, Roosevelt Room, and other portions of the West Wing were partially replicated on a sound stage and used as the setting for the popular television show The West Wing.

    The East Wing, which contains additional office space, was added to the White House in Among its uses, the East Wing has intermittently housed the offices and staff of the first lady , and the White House Social Office. Rosalynn Carter , in , was the first to place her personal office in the East Wing and to formally call it the "Office of the First Lady". The East Wing was built during World War II in order to hide the construction of an underground bunker to be used in emergencies.

    The White House Restoration | JFK Library

    The bunker has come to be known as the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. The White House and grounds cover just over 18 acres about 7. Before the construction of the North Portico, most public events were entered from the South Lawn , which was graded and planted by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson also drafted a planting plan for the North Lawn that included large trees that would have mostly obscured the house from Pennsylvania Avenue.

    During the mid-to-late 19th century a series of ever larger greenhouses were built on the west side of the house, where the current West Wing is located. During this period, the North Lawn was planted with ornate carpet-style flowerbeds. The Rose Garden borders the West Colonnade. Bordering the East Colonnade is the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden , which was begun by Jacqueline Kennedy but completed after her husband's assassination. Among the oldest trees on the grounds are several magnolias Magnolia grandiflora planted by Andrew Jackson, including the Jackson Magnolia, reportedly grown from a sprout taken from the favorite tree of Jackson's recently deceased wife, the sprout planted after Jackson moved into the White House.

    The tree stood for over years; but in , having become too weak to stand on its own, it was decided it should be removed and replaced with one of its offspring. Like the English and Irish country houses it was modeled on, the White House was, from the start, open to the public until the early part of the 20th century. President Thomas Jefferson held an open house for his second inaugural in , and many of the people at his swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol followed him home, where he greeted them in the Blue Room.

    Those open houses sometimes became rowdy: in , President Andrew Jackson had to leave for a hotel when roughly 20, citizens celebrated his inauguration inside the White House.


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    His aides ultimately had to lure the mob outside with washtubs filled with a potent cocktail of orange juice and whiskey. Even so, the practice continued until , when newly elected Grover Cleveland arranged for a presidential review of the troops from a grandstand in front of the White House instead of the traditional open house. Jefferson also permitted public tours of his house, which have continued ever since, except during wartime, and began the tradition of annual receptions on New Year's Day and on the Fourth of July. Those receptions ended in the early s, although President Bill Clinton briefly revived the New Year's Day open house in his first term.

    The White House remained accessible in other ways; President Abraham Lincoln complained that he was constantly beleaguered by job seekers waiting to ask him for political appointments or other favors, or eccentric dispensers of advice like "General" Daniel Pratt , as he began the business day. Lincoln put up with the annoyance rather than risk alienating some associate or friend of a powerful politician or opinion maker.

    In February , a stolen army helicopter landed without authorization on the White House's grounds. As a result of increased security regarding air traffic in the capital, the White House was evacuated in May before an unauthorized aircraft could approach the grounds. Later, the closure was extended an additional block to the east to 15th Street, and East Executive Avenue, a small street between the White House and the Treasury Building. The Pennsylvania Avenue closing has been opposed by organized civic groups in Washington, D. They argue that the closing impedes traffic flow unnecessarily and is inconsistent with the well-conceived historic plan for the city.

    As for security considerations, they note that the White House is set much farther back from the street than numerous other sensitive federal buildings are. Prior to its inclusion within the fenced compound that now includes the Old Executive Office Building to the west and the Treasury Building to the east, this sidewalk served as a queuing area for the daily public tours of the White House.

    These tours were suspended in the wake of the September 11 attacks. In September , they resumed on a limited basis for groups making prior arrangements through their Congressional representatives or embassies in Washington for foreign nationals and submitting to background checks, but the White House remained closed to the public. For security reasons, the section of Pennsylvania Avenue on the north side of the White House is closed to all vehicular traffic, except government officials.

    North front of the White House on the reverse back of the U. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see White House disambiguation and Pennsylvania Avenue disambiguation. Official residence and workplace of the President of the United States.

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    Top: the northern facade with a columned portico facing Lafayette Square Bottom: the southern facade with a semi-circular portico facing The Ellipse. The White House as it looked following the fire of August 24, Main article: White House Reconstruction. Main article: Executive Residence. Main article: West Wing. Main article: East Wing.

    This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. April Politics portal United States portal. Retrieved January 21, Fazio and Patrick A. Snadon The Johns Hopkins University Press. Lyon Press. Archived from the original on November 23, Retrieved March 4, — via West Wing Reports. White House Historical Association. Archived from the original PDF on December 30, Retrieved November 13, He wrote this name on his "Plan of the city intended for the permanent seat of the government of t he United States However, during the early s, a French ambassador to the U.

    Reference: Bowling, Kenneth R George Washington University, Washington, D. The United States Code states in 40 U. They Built the Capitol. Ayer Publishing. Archived from the original on November 9, National Park Service. Archived from the original on July 4, Retrieved February 24, New York Times. Retrieved June 1, A Portrait of Old Georgetown. Retrieved March 21, Archived from the original on October 28, Retrieved November 7, Retrieved February 13, The News-Herald.

    White House Museum. Retrieved November 9, The President's House, A History. Volume I. The American Institute of Architects Press. New York: Da Capo Press. Volume II. The White House. Archived from the original on October 10, Poore and Associates, Inc. June 2, Archived from the original PDF on October 31, Archived from the original on October 2, Retrieved November 2, Original Manuscripts and Primary Sources. Shapell Manuscript Foundation. Routledge, Archived from the original on October 7, Archived from the original on December 3, Retrieved January 28, The Independent.

    Historic Homes of the American Presidents. New York: Dover Publishing, , p. The White House Museum. International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on March 14, Records of the Columbia Historical Society. Gentleman Boss. The White House Historical Association. Archived from the original on May 7, Retrieved December 12, Retrieved June 28, The New York Times.

    Palm Beach Post. March 24, Archived from the original on January 25, Retrieved March 29, Archived from the original on January 24, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Archived from the original on March 3, CBS News. February 14, Retrieved April 7, Archived from the original on January 1, Retrieved December 7, The U. National Archives and Records Administration.

    Retrieved November 8, The National First Ladies Library.

    For the White House itself, and thus for the American people, Pat Nixon also decided to accelerate the collection process of fine antiques as well as historically associative pieces, adding some paintings and antiques to the White House Collection. It was the single greatest collecting during any Administration. May 9, As the project progressed, Mrs.

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    Kennedy and Mr. This act allowed the Fine Arts Committee and the curator's office to assure potential donors that their gifts would not be auctioned off or kept in the private collection of any president. It further protected the rooms of the White House from being radically altered in the future and clearly defined the project as historic preservation, rather than mere redecoration. Kennedy's White House restoration received lavish attention from the media, prompting offers from across the United States from people who wished to donate family heirlooms. Although many were unsuitable, an occasional treasure surfaced among the donations.

    Kennedy and other committee members also solicited antiques that they spotted during the restoration. Media coverage of the event culminated in Mrs. The show drew more than 80 million viewers and embellished the Kennedys' reputation as cultural gurus. Kennedy was also awarded an honorary Emmy for her contribution to television. Another of Mrs. Kennedy's important contributions to preserving the White House was her plan for a guidebook. She envisioned a series of publications to explain every facet of the White House: its history, its architectural significance, and its contents.

    The White House Historical Association was established in for the publication of the guidebook and to oversee public programs involving the White House. Although the Kennedy restoration abruptly ended with the president's death in November , most of the state rooms on the ground and first floors were complete. During the Johnson presidency, most of the rooms remained unchanged in deference to the Kennedys.

    The Kennedy restoration interiors were eventually altered as public taste and the philosophy of historic decoration evolved. Other first ladies, including Nancy Reagan, expressed an admiration for the Kennedy style and made an effort to recreate some of the designs. Despite the changes that took place over the years, many credit Mrs. Kennedy for setting the high standard in White House restoration and design. The public's continuing interest in the Kennedy White House is a testament to the enduring significance of their contributions.

    Skip past main navigation. JFK in History. Life of John F. Kennedy Life of Jacqueline B. Kennedy and the Press John F. Kennedy and PT John F. The White House Restoration. Jacqueline Kennedy began a complete restoration of the White House that captivated the American people and set a standard of scholarship and professionalism that has influenced first ladies ever since. A Question of Scholarship Just weeks after her husband's inauguration, Mrs. Identifier Accession.

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