Demolition

To provide solid support for the interior walls, crews poured 126 new reinforced concrete support columns to a depth of 25 feet. This would eventually provide space for two newly excavated sub-basement levels. By autumn 1950, interior demolition had left the White House a cavernous hollow space—165 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 70 to 80 feet high.

Abbie Rowe visited the construction site frequently. His photographs not only tracked the progress of the work, but also tried to capture the architectural forms and a web of steel wall supports in attractive ways. Using backlighting to illuminate the dark cavernous spaces of the gutted structure, he gave a sense of depth and beauty to the crumbling piles of stone, mortar, timber, and brick.



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