On the evening of March 27, 1952, in a small ceremony at the entrance door, President Truman received a gold key to the newly renovated White House. After spending more than three years living in the smaller quarters of the Blair House across the street, the first family returned to the mansion for their first night back in residence. It was both the same house they had left three years earlier and a new and larger home as well. Its original 48 rooms had expanded to 54, not including two entirely new sub-basement levels containing service areas and other support facilities.
In a live television special, the president proudly toured the renovated house, telling of events in its history. President Truman’s renovation was the most radical in the history of the White House. His goal was to rebuild the house for all time. It remains today, redecorated, but essentially as he left it.