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 took a great toll on the brick and sandstone structure built around a timber frame. By 1948, the house was declared to be in imminent danger of collapse, forcing President Truman to commission a reconstruction and to live across the street at "Blair House from 1949 to 1951. The work, done by the firm of "Philadelphia contractor "John McShain, required the complete dismantling of the interior spaces, construction of a new load-bearing internal steel frame and the reconstruction of the original rooms within the new structure. The total cost of the renovations was about $5.7 million (US$ 53 million in 2017). Some modifications to the floor plan were made, the largest being the repositioning of the grand staircase to open into the Entrance Hall, rather than the Cross Hall. Central air conditioning was added, as well as two additional sub-basements providing space for workrooms, storage, and a bomb shelter. The Trumans moved back into the White House on March 27, 1952. While the house's structure was kept intact by the Truman reconstruction, much of the new interior finishes were generic, and of little historic value. Much of the original plasterwork, some dating back to the 1814–1816 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 restoration
"Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of President "John F. Kennedy (1961–63), 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. Other antiques, fine paintings, and improvements of the Kennedy period were donated to the White House by wealthy philanthropists, including the "Crowninshield family, "Jane Engelhard, "Jayne Wrightsman, and the Oppenheimer family. "Stéphane Boudin of the "House of Jansen, a Paris interior-design firm that had been recognized worldwide, was employed by Mrs. Kennedy to assist with the decoration. Different periods of the early republic and world history were selected as a theme for each room: the Federal style for the "Green Room, French Empire for the "Blue Room, American Empire for the "Red Room, Louis XVI for the "Yellow Oval Room, and Victorian for the president's study, renamed the "Treaty Room. 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. In the "Diplomatic Reception Room Mrs. Kennedy installed an antique "Vue de l'Amérique Nord" wall paper which "Zuber & Cie had designed in 1834. The wallpaper had hung previously on the walls of another mansion until 1961 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. Sale of the guidebook helped finance the restoration.
Kennedy showed her restoration of the White House to the public in "a televised tour of the house on "Valentine's Day in 1962.
The White House since the Kennedy restoration
Congress enacted legislation in September 1961 declaring the White House a museum. Furniture, fixtures, and decorative arts could now be declared either historic or of artistic interest by the President. This prevented them from being sold (as many objects in the executive mansion had been in the past 150 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. Since the Kennedy restoration, every presidential family has made some changes to the private quarters of the White House, but the "Committee for the Preservation of the White House must approve any modifications to the State Rooms. 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.
During the Nixon administration (1969–74), First Lady "Pat Nixon refurbished the Green Room, Blue Room, and Red Room, working with Clement Conger, the curator appointed by President "Richard Nixon. Mrs. Nixon's efforts brought more than 600 artifacts to the house, the largest acquisition by any administration. Her husband created the modern press briefing room over "Franklin Roosevelt's old swimming pool. Nixon also added a single-lane bowling alley to the White House basement.
Computers and the first laser printer were added during the Carter administration, and the use of computer technology was expanded during the Reagan administration. A Carter-era innovation, a set of "solar water heating panels that were mounted on the roof of the White House, was removed during Reagan's presidency. Redecorations were made to the private family quarters and maintenance was made to public areas during the Reagan years. The house was accredited as a museum in 1988.
In the 1990s, "Bill and "Hillary Clinton refurbished some rooms with the assistance of "Arkansas decorator Kaki Hockersmith, including the Oval Office, the East Room, Blue Room, "State Dining Room, Lincoln Bedroom, and Lincoln Sitting Room. During the administration of "George W. Bush, First Lady "Laura Bush refurbished the Lincoln Bedroom in a style contemporary with the Lincoln era; the Green Room, "Cabinet Room, and theater were also refurbished.
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. In the 1990s, "Hillary Clinton, at the suggestion of Visitors Office Director Melinda N. 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 2003, the Bush administration reinstalled solar thermal heaters. These units are used to heat water for landscape maintenance personnel and for the presidential pool and spa. 167 solar photovoltaic grid tied panels were installed at the same time on the roof of the maintenance facility. 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.
In 2013, President Barack Obama installed a set of "solar panels on the roof of the White House.
The president usually travels to and from the White House grounds via official "motorcade or helicopter. The journey by helicopter was inaugurated in the 1950s, when President "Dwight D. Eisenhower began traveling on "Marine One to and from his official residence.
Layout and amenities
Today the group of buildings housing the presidency is known as the White House Complex. It includes the central "Executive Residence flanked by the "East Wing and "West Wing. The "Chief Usher coordinates day to day household operations. The White House includes: six stories and 55,000 ft2 (5,100 m2) of floor space, 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, twenty-eight fireplaces, eight staircases, three elevators, five full-time chefs, a tennis court, a (single-lane) bowling alley (officially called the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley), a movie theater (officially called the "White House Family Theater), a jogging track, a swimming pool, and a putting green. It receives up to 30,000 visitors each week.
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. The State Floor of the residence building includes the "East Room, "Green Room, "Blue Room, "Red Room, "State Dining Room, "Family Dining Room, "Cross Hall, "Entrance Hall, and "Grand Staircase. The Ground Floor is made up of the "Diplomatic Reception Room, "Map Room, "China Room, "Vermeil Room, "Library, the main kitchen, and other offices. The second floor family residence includes the "Yellow Oval Room, "East and "West Sitting Halls, the White House Master Bedroom, "President's Dining Room, the "Treaty Room, "Lincoln Bedroom and "Queens' Bedroom, as well as two additional bedrooms, a smaller kitchen, and a private dressing room. The third floor consists of the White House Solarium, Game Room, Linen Room, a Diet Kitchen, and another sitting room (previously used as President George W. 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, as well as the "White House Situation Room, "James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, and "Roosevelt Room. In 2007, work was completed on renovations of the press briefing room, adding "fiber optic cables and "LCD screens for the display of charts and graphs. The makeover took 11 months and cost $8 million, of which news outlets paid $2 million. In September 2010, "a two-year project began on the West Wing, creating a multistory underground structure; this will be followed with additional renovation of the wing.
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 1942. 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 1977, 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 bunker has come to be known as the "Presidential Emergency Operations Center.
The White House and grounds cover just over 18 acres (about 7.3 hectares). 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 general layout of the White House grounds today is based on the 1935 design by "Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. of the "Olmsted Brothers firm, commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During the Kennedy administration, the "White House Rose Garden was redesigned by "Rachel Lambert Mellon. 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. On the weekend of June 23, 2006, a century-old "American Elm (Ulmus americana L.) tree on the north side of the building, came down during one of the many storms amid "intense flooding. Among the oldest trees on the grounds are several magnolias ("Magnolia grandiflora) planted by Andrew Jackson. Michelle Obama planted the White House's first organic garden and installed beehives on the South Lawn of the White House, which will supply organic produce and honey to the First Family and for state dinners and other official gatherings.
Public access and security
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 1805, 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 1829, President "Andrew Jackson had to leave for a hotel when roughly 20,000 citizens celebrated his inauguration inside the White House. 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 1885, 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 1930s, although President "Bill Clinton would briefly revive 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.["citation needed]
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In February 1974, a stolen army helicopter landed without authorization on the White House's grounds. Twenty years later, in 1994, a light plane crashed on the White House grounds, and the pilot died instantly.
As a result of increased security regarding air traffic in the capital, the White House was evacuated in May 2005 before an unauthorized aircraft could approach the grounds.
Closure of Pennsylvania Avenue
On May 20, 1995, primarily as a response to the "Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, the "United States Secret Service closed off Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic in front of the White House from the eastern edge of Lafayette Park to 17th Street. 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.
After "September 11, 2001, this was made permanent in addition to closing E Street between the South Portico of the White House and "the Ellipse. In response to the "Boston Marathon bombing the road was closed to the public in its entirety for a period of two days.
The Pennsylvania Avenue closing has been opposed by organized civic groups in Washington, D.C. 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 2003, 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. White House tours were suspended for most of 2013 due to budget constraints after "sequestration. The White House reopened to the public in November 2013.
The White House Complex is protected by the "United States Secret Service and the "United States Park Police.
"NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) were used to guard air space over Washington, D.C. during the 2005 presidential inauguration. The same NASAMS units have since been used to protect the president and all air space around the White House, which is strictly prohibited to aircraft.
North front of the White House on the reverse (back) of the "U.S. $20 bill.
- "Camp David
- "Germantown White House
- "Graphics and Calligraphy Office
- "List of largest houses in the United States
- "List of National Historic Landmarks in Washington, D.C.
- "List of residences of Presidents of the United States
- "List of residences of Presidents of the United States#Western White House
- "Number One Observatory Circle, residence of the Vice President
- "Reported White House ghosts
- "Category:Rooms in the White House
- "White House Acquisition Trust
- "White House Chief Calligrapher
- "White House Chief Floral Designer
- "White House Christmas tree
- "White House Communications Agency
- "White House Endowment Trust
- "White House Executive Chef
- "White House Fellows
- "White House History
- "White House Social Secretary
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- Wolff, Perry. A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Doubleday & Company: 1962.
- Exhibition Catalogue, Sale 6834: The Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis April 23–26, 1996. Sothebys, Inc.: 1996.
- The White House: An Historic Guide. White House Historical Association and the National Geographic Society: 2001. "ISBN 978-0-912308-79-1.
- The White House. The First Two Hundred Years, ed. by Frank Freidel/William Pencak, Boston 1994.
|""||Wikimedia Commons has media related to White House.|
- Official website
- The White House Historical Association, with historical photos, online tours and exhibits, timelines, and facts
- President's Park (White House) part of the "National Park Service
- The White House Museum, a detailed online tour
- Detailed 3D computer model of White House and grounds
- Video tours:
- Geographic data related to White House at "OpenStreetMap