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The Working White House: Sanding the Floor

The Working White House: Sanding the Floor

Credit
National Archives and Records Administration

The Working White House: Sanding the Floor

Workers sand East Room Floor, 1955. A staff member uses a state-of-the-art floor sander on the East Room floor while co-workers attend to various tasks.

One of the maintenance headaches for White House workers is the wear and tear on the wood floors. “When people stopped wearing dress shoes and went to soft-soled shoes we all cheered because we thought this would be great for the floors,” former Chief Usher Gary Walters recalled. “We couldn’t have been more wrong. What happens with soft-soled shoes is that pebbles get embedded in them, so now you’ve got 1,500 people walking through with sandpaper on their feet. It was exactly the opposite of what we expected.”

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