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Frank Bourgholtzer of NBC invited President Truman to sample the sound of the piano in the East Room during a 1952 televised house tour

Frank Bourgholtzer of NBC invited President Truman to sample the sound of the piano in the East Room during a 1952 televised house tour. AP/World Wide Photos
1950s

In 1952, following a major renovation of the White House, President Harry S. Truman invited ABC, NBC, and CBS, to bring their cameras and correspondents to the White House to accompany the president on a tour of the reconstructed White House. Dwight D. Eisenhower held the first presidential press conference covered by both television and motion picture newsreel on January 19, 1955. Eisenhower was also the first president to use helicopters to travel to and from the White House grounds.

Source: William Seale, The President's House, 1052.





President Nixon’s conversation with Armstrong and Aldrin was covered live on television

President Nixon’s conversation with Armstrong and Aldrin was covered live on television. National Archives
1960s

On July 20, 1969, President Richard M. Nixon spoke from the White House by radiotelephone with Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin as they walked on the surface of the moon. Nixon called the conversation "the most historic telephone call ever made."

Source: The Living White House, 126.





Solar Panels on the White House during the Carter adminstration

Solar Panels on the White House during the Carter adminstration. Jimmy Carter Library
1970s

In response to the economic crisis created by the Arab oil embargo and the nation's growing dependence on foreign oil, President Jimmy Carter called for a comprehensive campaign to conserve energy. He set an example during his administration by promoting the use of solar energy by installing solar heating panels on the roof of the West Wing in 1977. They were removed in the 1980s.

American Solar Energy Society web site; Boston Globe 6/21/00





Although White House staff began using computer office equipment in 1978, President Ronald Reagan continued to work in the Oval Office in a traditional manner

Although White House staff began using computer office equipment in 1978, President Ronald Reagan continued to work in the Oval Office in a traditional manner. Ronald Reagan Library
1980s

The Carter administration began the task of automating the White House with computers. Initial uses included assembling databases, tracking correspondence, developing a press release system, and compiling issues and concerns of Congress. In 1978, the West Wing was equipped with a Hewlett Packard 3000, which was connected to terminals in the office of senior and mid-level staff. By the end of Carter's term, the White House had purchased its first laser printer, a water-cooled IBM model that measured 8'x10'x3'. President Ronald Reagan's staff expanded the uses of computer office technology soon adopting the word processor with the widespread introduction of personal computers in the 1980s.





The first White House website homepage

The first White House website homepage. National Archives
1990s

E-mail was introduced to the White House in 1992. President George Bush became the first president to use this new technology. The White House's first web site was developed during the Clinton administration and made its debut in 1994. Several updated versions of the site followed, establishing the online presence of the White House as a "Gateway to Government."





Installing PV panels on a National Park Service maintenance building at the White House

Installing PV panels on a National Park Service maintenance building at the White House. Evergreen Solar, Inc.
2000s

The National Park Service oversaw the installation of three solar energy systems on the White House grounds in 2002. A system of 167 photovoltaic panels was placed on the roof of the central maintenance building. A solar thermal application for providing hot water for the grounds maintenance staff was added to this building as well. A third system was integrated into the roof of the cabana adjacent to the pool and spa; it heats a hot tub and shower, with overflow energy directed to the outdoor pool.

Source: Environmental Building News



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