PetaPixel

Photos of the White House Gutted During Its Truman Reconstruction

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Did you know that the White House was completely gutted and rebuilt on the inside between 1949 and 1952? After decades of poor maintenance, the building was in danger of collapsing in 1948, which forced President Harry Truman to move out and commission a complete gutting and rebuilding of the building’s insides.

The U.S. National Archives has been publishing photographs showing the gutted White House to its Flickr photostream.

The reconstruction project required that the entire interior of the house be dismantled so that new load-bearing steel beams could be put in.

Although the exterior of the house was basically unchanged when Truman moved back in on March 27, 1952, the interior finishes had little historic value left in them. The entire cost of the rebuilding project: about $5.7 million.

Here are some photographs captured during the process, and the original captions they were published with:

New Steps of the South Portico Being Erected during the White House Renovation

New Steps of the South Portico Being Erected during the White House Renovation

The Shell of the White House during the Renovation

The Shell of the White House during the Renovation

White House, Lower Corridor

White House, Lower Corridor

Second Floor Oval Study above Blue Room during the White House Renovation

Second Floor Oval Study above Blue Room during the White House Renovation

Northeast View in the East Room during the White House Renovation

Northeast View in the East Room during the White House Renovation

Workers inside Ductwork during the Renovation of the White House

Workers inside Ductwork during the Renovation of the White House

Northeast View of the State Dining Room during the White House Renovation

Northeast View of the State Dining Room during the White House Renovation

Construction Equipment inside the White House

Construction Equipment inside the White House

Southwest View of the North Portico of the White House during the Renovation

Southwest View of the North Portico of the White House during the Renovation

View from the Lincoln Room during the White House Renovation

View from the Lincoln Room during the White House Renovation

Bedroom and Sitting Room of the White House during the Renovation

Bedroom and Sitting Room of the White House during the Renovation

White House East Room

White House East Room

White House Lobby During the Renovation

White House Lobby During the Renovation

White House Main Stairway

White House Main Stairway

View of the South Portico of the White House

View of the South Portico of the White House

West View in the Third Floor Corridor of the White House during the Renovation

West View in the Third Floor Corridor of the White House during the Renovation

You can find more of these photos in this National Archives set on Flickr.

(via National Journal via The Verge)


Image credits: Photographs by the National Archives and the Harry S. Truman Library


 
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  • 3ric15

    Those photos are amazing. The third picture is strong, IMO, if you think there are supposed to be floors there.

  • chubbs

    I wonder what the cost of the reconstruction was in modern day dollars.

  • Michael Choi

    Where’s the secret chamber?

  • Joe

    Freemason shananagins. Looking for the corner stone of the whitehouse. Truman halted digging when they were a foot away from uncovering it. For reasons unknown.

  • SpaceMan

    Courtesy of the “mine is bigger than yours” mentality during the Cold War

  • Trey Campbell

    Assuming an overall annual inflation rate of 3% over 61 years, it would cost $34,589,602. They knew how to spend a lot back then too.

  • http://twitter.com/JDennisThomas J. Dennis Thomas

    I’m curious as to what it look like on the inside before the renovations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joey-Duncan/1111692326 Joey Duncan

    I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I would expect our Nation to WANT to maintain THE most iconic building in that nation, cost be damned. That building is a basic representation of what we *should* stand for, and according to the state of it prior to the rebuild it was doing so great.

  • Darbraun

    Why the heck would anyone downvote Trey’s comment?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean3031 Sean Walsh

    3 words: Haters gonna hate.
    Guarantee you the same person who down-voted his comment will do the same to mine.

  • X

    Very interesting. I never new this. Then again, I’m Canadian.