Rowe’s photographs captured the drama of the interior space as floors were removed to reveal levels above and below. Beginning in November 1950 when the weight of the empty exterior shell of the White House was transferred to a new skeleton of steel, Rowe, recorded in a little more than fifteen months, the rapid construction of a new White House interior.
In 1948 President Truman appointed a Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion to manage the modern transformation of the White House. Historic restoration as we know it today was not considered. Instead, the commission determined to retain the historic sandstone walls, the third floor and the roof, while removing and then rebuilding the other interiors on a skeleton of steel structural beams and a new concrete foundation.