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Dad, why are you a Republican?


The White House State Dining Room

Photo by: Louis, Upper St. Clair High School, Pennsylvania

Welcome to the State Dining Room
Text and photo from by: whitehouse.gov

Picture of the State Dining Room

The State Dining Room, which now seats as many as 140 guests, was originally much smaller and served at various times as a drawing room, office, and Cabinet Room. Not until the Andrew Jackson administration was it called the "State Dining Room," although it had been used for formal dinners by previous Presidents.

As the nation grew, so did the invitation list to official functions at the White House. After the renovation of 1902 by architects McKim, Mead & White, the room size was enlarged after the main stairway from the west end of the Cross Hall was removed. The two Italian marble mantels installed by Monroe were moved to the Red and Green Rooms; a single larger fireplace was constructed on the west wall. The architecture of the room was modeled after that of neoclassical English houses of the late 18th century. Below a new ceiling and a cornice of white plaster, natural oak wall paneling with Corinthian pilasters and a delicately carved frieze were installed. Three console tables with eagle supports, made by the A. H. Davenport Co. of Boston, were placed against the walls, and a silver-plate chandelier and complementing wall sconces were added.

In this picture the mahogany dining table, surrounded by Queen Anne-style chairs, displays part of Monroe's gilt service purchased from France in 1817. The ornamental bronze-dore pieces are used today as table decorations for state dinners. The plateau centerpiece, with seven mirrored sections, measures 13 feet 6 inches in length when fully extended. Standing bacchantes holding wreaths for tiny bowls or candles border the plateau. Three fruit baskets, supported by female figures, may be used to hold flowers. The two rococo-revival candelabra date from the Hayes Administration. The carpet, of soft green and brown, reproduces a Persian design from the 17th century.

Carved into the mantel below George P. A. Healy's portrait of President Lincoln is an inscription from a letter written by John Adams on his second night in the White House:

I pray Heaven to Bestow the Best of Blessings on THIS HOUSE and on All that shall hereafter Inhabit it. May none but honest and Wise Men ever rule this roof.


 

 

 

The White House
An American Treasure
Text from by: whitehouse.gov

Photographs from the 200th Anniversary Kickoff Celebration

For two hundred years, the White House has stood as a symbol of the Presidency, the United States government, and the American people. Its history, and the history of the nation’s capital, began when President George Washington signed an Act of Congress in December of 1790 declaring that the federal government would reside in a district "not exceeding ten miles square…on the river Potomac." President Washington, together with city planner Pierre L’Enfant, chose the site for the new residence, which is now 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. As preparations began for the new federal city, a competition was held to find a builder of the "President’s House." Nine proposals were submitted, and Irish-born architect James Hoban won a gold medal for his practical and handsome design.

Construction began when the first cornerstone was laid in October of 1792. Although President Washington oversaw the construction of the house, he never lived in it. It was not until 1800, when the White House was nearly completed, that its first residents, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved in. Since that time, each President has made his own changes and additions. The White House is, after all, the President’s private home. It is also the only private residence of a head of state that is open to the public, free of charge.

The White House has a unique and fascinating history. It survived a fire at the hands of the British in 1814 (during the war of 1812) and another fire in the West Wing in 1929, while Herbert Hoover was President. Throughout much of Harry S. Truman’s presidency, the interior of the house, with the exception of the third floor, was completely gutted and renovated while the Truman's lived at Blair House, right across Pennsylvania Avenue. Nonetheless, the exterior stone walls are those first put in place when the White House was constructed two centuries ago.

Presidents can express their individual style in how they decorate some parts of the house and in how they receive the public during their stay. Thomas Jefferson held the first Inaugural open house in 1805. Many of those who attended the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol simply followed him home, where he greeted them in the Blue Room. President Jefferson also opened the house for public tours, and it has remained open, except during wartime, ever since. In addition, he welcomed visitors to annual receptions on New Year’s Day and on the Fourth of July. In 1829, a horde of 20,000 Inaugural callers forced President Andrew Jackson to flee to the safety of a hotel while, on the lawn, aides filled washtubs with orange juice and whiskey to lure the mob out of the mud-tracked White House.

After Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, Inaugural crowds became far too large for the White House to accommodate them comfortably. However, not until Grover Cleveland’s first presidency did this unsafe practice change. He held a presidential review of the troops from a flag-draped grandstand built in front of the White House. This procession evolved into the official Inaugural parade we know today. Receptions on New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July continued to be held until the early 1930s.

President Clinton’s open house on January 21, 1993 renewed a venerable White House Inaugural tradition. Two thousand citizens, selected by lottery, were greeted in the Diplomatic Reception Room by President and Mrs. Clinton and Vice President and Mrs. Gore.

 

 

The West Wing - This new TV Show averages over a 11 million viewers each week but what is the west wing?

The West Wing is where the President works and where executive offices are located.  This wing  was constructed by Teddy Roosevelt to meet the housing needs of his rather large family which required the entire second floor for their living quarters. In 1909, William Taft added an Oval Office to the West Wing.  FDR had the West Wing enlarged and relocated the Oval Office  within the wing in 1934. 

In 1948, it was determined that the White House  in imminent danger of collapsing. Harry Truman moved across the street to the Blair House and the interior was gutted and   historic rooms were rebuilt as exact representations of the originals.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis launched a program to redesign the White House emphasizing American antiques and artwork.. She is primarily responsible for making the White House a living museum of American history.

Today over five million cyber tour the White House annually with over 1 million actual visitors.

 


Some White House Facts

  • There are 132 rooms, 32 bathrooms, and 6 levels to accommodate all the people who live in, work in, and visit the White House. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 7 staircases, and 3 elevators.

  • At various times in history, the White House has been known as the "President's Palace," the "President's House," and the "Executive Mansion." President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.

  • The White House receives approximately 6,000 visitors a day.

  • Presidential Firsts… President John Tyler (1841-1845) was the first President to have his photograph taken… President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) was not only the first President to ride in an automobile, but also the first President to travel outside the country when he visited Panama… President Franklin Roosevelt (1933-1945) was the first President to ride in an airplane.

  • With five full-time chefs, the White House kitchen is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors d'oeuvres to more than 1,000.

  • The White House requires 570 gallons of paint to cover its outside surface.

  • For recreation, the White House has a variety of facilities available to its residents, including a tennis court, a jogging track, swimming pool, movie theater, billiard room, and a bowling lane

  • 1824 -- South Portico completed, 1829 -- North Portico completed, 1833 -- Running water installed, 1848 -- Natural Gas lighting installed, 1853 -- Central plumbing installed, 1855 -- First kitchen stove, 1873 -- Major renovations, 1879 -- Telephone Service installed, 1881 -- Elevator installed, 1891 -- Electric Lighting installed,  1901 -- Conversion of 2nd floor offices, 1902 -- Roosevelt's Construction of the West Wing, 1909 -- Taft's Oval Office construction,. 1913 -- Creation of the Rose Garden, 1933 -- Swimming pool installed, 1934 -- Oval Office moved, and 1948-52 "Truman" renovation (total reconstruction of the structure)

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