Has the White House Ever Needed Serious Renovations?

When Harry S. Truman assumed the presidency of the United States in 1945, the White House was falling apart. The main body of the mansion was found to be structurally unsound and in danger of collapse. Some said that the building should be demolished and rebuilt. But Truman persuaded Congress to fund a total rebuild of the White House from the inside out, leaving only the brick outer walls. The interior was dismantled and certain features were saved, such as fireplace mantels. In the end, it was entirely rebuilt using the same general plan used during James Madison's presidency in 1814.

Extreme makeover on Pennsylvania Avenue:

  • A leg of Margaret Truman's piano broke through the floor in what is today the private dining room. Engineers found plaster in the corner of the East Room to be sagging as much as 18 inches (46 cm).

  • The structure's wooden beams had been weakened by cutting and drilling for the installation of plumbing and wiring. The addition of a third floor and a steel roof in 1927 added weight that the building couldn’t handle.

  • While the White House was being rebuilt, Harry and Bess Truman moved to Blair House across Pennsylvania Avenue.

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More Info: Smithsonian magazine

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Post 1

The "same general plans," except for the 3 or more sub-basements they should have put in if they were smart.

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