Executive Residence

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White House Ground Floor showing location of principal rooms
White House State Floor showing location of principal rooms
White House Second Floor showing location of principal rooms

The Executive Residence is the central building of the White House Complex located between the East Wing and West Wing. This central building, first constructed 1792–1800, is home to the President of the United States and the First Family. The Executive Residence primarily occupies three floors: the Ground Floor, State Floor, and Second Floor. A third floor contains a solarium, guest rooms, and some recreation rooms for the first family. Two sub-basements, created during the 1948–1952 Truman reconstruction, contain storage and service areas and a wartime shelter for the president and first family.

Floors[edit]

Sub Basement Lower Level[edit]

This level was added during the 1948 Truman Renovation and contains the two-story air conditioning and water softening equipment. Additionally, the program control and electrical switching areas extend upwards into the Mezzanine.

The lower level also contains large storage areas, a heating and air control room adjacent to the air conditioning room, and rest rooms in the southwest corner. There are three elevator machinery rooms, an ushers' room, incinerator, laundry room, and dentist.

Sub Basement Mezzanine[edit]

This level was added during the 1948 Truman Renovation and has several openings in the floor for large machinery, ductwork and pipes that extend up from the Sub Basement Lower Level. These openings are for Air Conditioning, Program Control, and Electrical Switching, as well as the Water Softener, which is immediately south of the Air Conditioner Room and is under the South Portico. Besides these areas, the Mezzanine contains Storage areas, Dishwasher (and associated Dishware and Flatware rooms), and a Fan room in the North-West corner, and Men's and Women's rooms (South East and North East corners respectively) with stairs from each leading up to the Ground Floor.

Ground Floor[edit]

Originally intended as a service area for cooking, laundering, and heating, the Ground Floor was rebuilt during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, and again between 1948–1952 during the Truman reconstruction. Today this floor houses several official rooms, including the Diplomatic Reception Room, Library, China Room, Map Room, and Vermeil Room. This floor also continues to house some White House domestic operations: the kitchen and pantry are located on this floor, along with the office of the White House Curator, and the office of the White House physician.

This floor is at the same level as, and connects directly to, the basement level which extends under the North Portico and even further. The westernmost portion is in line with the wall of the Palm Room, and the easternmost portion is in line with the wall of the Visitor's Foyer. It contains the flower shop, the carpenters shop, and the bowling alley, among other rooms. The bowling alley is in the very center of the basement, going north-south. In 1948-1952, as part of the Truman reconstruction, the northeast corner of the basement was extended further north so it could contain transformers and air blowers.

State Floor[edit]

The State Floor is used for official entertaining and ceremonial functions. The following rooms are found on the State Floor: Entrance Hall, Cross Hall, East Room, Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room, State Dining Room, Family Dining Room, and the Chief Usher's office.

Second Floor[edit]

The Second Floor contains the private living apartments and kitchen of the president and his family. Some of these rooms are used for official entertaining, but most are reserved for private use. Residents choose from a weekly menu offered by the White House chef. The government pays for state dinners and other official functions, but the president pays for food that he, his family, and personal guests consume; the high food bill often amazes new residents.[1] The following rooms are found on the Second Floor: Yellow Oval Room, Treaty Room, President's Dining Room, Lincoln Bedroom, Lincoln Sitting Room, Queens' Bedroom, Queens' Sitting Room, Central Hall, East Sitting Hall, and West Sitting Hall. The Truman Balcony is also located on this floor. Four private bedrooms and a dressing room are reserved for the president. Different presidents have used various rooms as their bedroom. What is now known as the President's Bedroom has traditionally been used as the First Lady's bedroom, although this was Abraham Lincoln's bedroom; historically many presidents used what is now called the Private Sitting Room as their bedroom.[2]

Third floor[edit]

During a 1927 renovation the White House attic was rebuilt into a third floor. It was further expanded with the Truman Reconstruction and currently contains 20 rooms, 9 bathrooms, and a main hall and is ringed by an outdoor rooftop promenade. This floor was once used for staff bedrooms, but no staff currently live in the White House.[3] The third floor contains a sunroom atop the south portico with views of the south lawn, music room, work-out room, game room, as well as guest rooms for the first family.[4] Visiting dignitaries are normally housed in the 2nd floor state bedrooms and foreign heads of state customarily stay at Blair House.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bumiller, Elizabeth (January 2009). "Inside the Presidency". National Geographic. Retrieved June 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ White House Museum - Master Bedroom, retrieved online 2011-09-24
  3. ^ Hawkes Patterson, Bradley (2001). The White House Staff: Inside the West Wing and Beyond. Brookings Institution Press. p. 397. ISBN 9780815769514. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ White House Museum - Third Floor, retrieved 2011-Sept-25
  5. ^ Blair House, retrieved online 2011-Sept-25

Further reading[edit]

  • Garrett, Wendell. Our Changing White House. Northeastern University Press: 1995. ISBN 1-55553-222-5.
  • McKellar, Kenneth, Douglas W. Orr, Edward Martin, et al. Report of the Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion. Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion, Government Printing Office: 1952.
  • Seale, William. The President's House. White House Historical Association and the National Geographic Society: 1986. ISBN 0-912308-28-1.
  • Truman, Margaret. The President's House: 1800 to the Present. New York: Ballantine, 2003. ISBN 0-345-44452-3
  • West, J.B. with Mary Lynn Kotz. Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan: 1973. SBN 698-10546-X.
  • The White House: An Historic Guide. White House Historical Association and the National Geographic Society: 2001. ISBN 0-912308-79-6.

External links[edit]

  • White House Museum Unofficial virtual museum of the White House, with floor plans, photographs, and extensive descriptions of both historical and current furnishings.

Coordinates: 38°53′52″N 77°02′11″W / 38.89778°N 77.03639°W / 38.89778; -77.03639