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Renovation Work on the White House, ca. 1950

During the War of 1812, British troops stormed Washington destroyed major portions of the city, including the White House. By the time that President Truman took office in 1945, the building was near collapse, and the third floor of the structure was called "an outstanding example of a firetrap." Truman petitioned for a major restoration before Congress, although he reasoned, "It perhaps would be more economical from a purely financial standpoint to raze the building and to rebuild completely. In doing so, however, there would be destroyed a building of tremendous historical significance in the growth of the nation."

Only the exterior remained, while the internal structure was completely gutted. The photographs are are from the U.S. National Archives and detail the exhaustive renovations begun in 1950, and completed in 1952.


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Second Floor Corridor of the White House, 01/03/1950

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Construction Equipment inside the White House, ca. 1950

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White House East Room, 01/19/1950

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Split Beam above White House Lobby Ceiling, 01/25/1950

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View from Servant's Dining Room at the White House, 02/06/1950

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Second Floor Corridor of the White House during the Renovation, 02/09/1950

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White House, Lower Corridor, 02/14/1950

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White House Blue Room, 02/20/1950

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White House Main Stairway, 02/23/1950

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Bedroom and Sitting Room of the White House during the Renovation, 02/27/1950


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The Shell of the White House during the Renovation, 05/17/1950

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Northeast View in the East Room during the White House Renovation, 06/21/1951

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View from the Lincoln Room during the White House Renovation, 01/23/1951

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View of the South Portico of the White House, 02/16/1952

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Blue Room at the White House, Post-Renovation, 07/15/1952

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White House State Dining Room, 07/15/1952

See the renovations in much greater detail on the U.S. National Archives

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