Yes, many, many times! Today there is a marker embedded in the floor of the White House Entrance Hall which includes the dates of the four major instances of White House construction and renovation: 1792, 1817, 1902, 1952. 1792 represents the year that the cornerstone was laid, and construction began on the White House. 1817 marks the rebuild of the White House after the British burned it on August 24, 1814. 1902 commemorates the Theodore Roosevelt renovation which modernized the White House for the twentieth century and established the West Wing as the new executive office space for the president and their staff. 1952 marks the completion of the Harry S. Truman Renovation (1948-1952), which completely gutted and rebuilt the White House from the inside. While not included on this marker, there was also another significant renovation that took place in 1927 during the Calvin Coolidge administration.
In addition to these major renovations, there have been numerous other changes to the White House over the years. As technology advanced, new means of heating, plumbing, lighting, and cooling were installed at the White House. Since the last major renovation by Harry S. Truman, every president and first lady has made changes inside the White House but in very different ways. Some have renovated or refurbished rooms—for example, the Blue Room underwent renovations by Jacqueline Kennedy, Thelma “Pat” Nixon, and Hillary Clinton. Some have added artwork, portraiture, and furniture to the White House Collection—for example, Mamie Eisenhower accepted a gift of 1,575 pieces of vermeil; Michelle Obama secured Alma Thomas’ painting Resurrection, the first work of an African-American woman in the collection; and Melania Trump acquired Isamu Noguchi’s sculpture Floor Frame for the White House Rose Garden. Others have supported exterior projects on the White House Grounds—for example, Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson oversaw the redesign of the East Garden and the creation of the Children’s Garden; Gerald R. Ford ordered an outdoor swimming pool to be built; and Michelle Obama created the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn. Every first family leaves its mark on the home, and while some of these changes can be temporary, others continue into the next administration and beyond.
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