Originally constructed between 1792 and 1800, the White House has been the official residence and workspace of every US President since number two, John Adams. Of course, a building of that age — which was set ablaze by the British during the War of 1812 — is bound to have its issues and require renovations over the years. And a century after being built, President Roosevelt was just the man to renovate 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
When President Roosevelt and his brood moved into the White House, it wasn’t the glorious presidential palace one would imagine. Victorian accoutrements added in the late-1800s didn’t have that classic American feel while the inadequate plumbing and cramped feel of the residence/workplace was just not suitable for President Roosevelt, his wife, and his six children. So in 1902, the White House underwent a $500,000 makeover (around $13 million today).
The Victorian embellishments were removed, plumbing was upgraded and bathrooms were added. But the biggest change was the addition of what was originally meant to be a temporary workspace. Built on the site of the greenhouse and stables, this office structure was named the West Wing, with Roosevelt’s personal office located where the Roosevelt Room is today. The Oval Office would be added when Roosevelt’s successor, William Howard Taft, expanded the West Wing.
With the Trumps now moving into the White House and undoubtedly making some changes of their own (gold leaf everything!), we thought it appropriate to take a look back at the second-largest renovation of the White House — after Truman’s almost total reconstruction, of course. The photos below were captured in 1904 and hand-tinted to offer an accurate look at the Theodore Roosevelt White House.
For more information on the renovation, visit the White House Museum.