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An Essay on "Lafayette Square" by Peter Waddell

Peter Waddell's painting re-creates the historic square north of the White House in 1902, the year President Theodore Roosevelt remodeled the house. To the right of the White House, one can see that the conservatories have been removed from the roof of President Thomas Jefferson's west terrace. At the end of this terrace the Temporary Executive Office is under construction. It


An Essay on "Composition in Red and Gold" by Peter Waddell

The Red Room was the only complete interior designer Louis Comfort Tiffany created for the White House. Redesigned in high aesthetic taste (meaning art-like) the room was first called the Red Room some thirty-five years before, during the administration of James K. Polk. It is shown here about 1883, during the presidency of Chester A. Arthur, transformed from the old-fashioned room


An Essay on "A Vision Takes Form" by Peter Waddell

At this stage in the construction of the White House, 1796, the walls are rising above the second floor level. They are half way to completion. People were now beginning to see how extensive the house was to be, and they must have looked on in wonder. Larger than a statehouse and taller than most church steeples, it would have loomed


An Essay on "A Favorable Day" by Peter Waddell

Dawn breaks over the White House stables on March 4, 1873. The grooms and coachmen are up early to prepare for President Ulysses S. Grant's second inaugural parade. Details have been taken by the artist from historic photographs. The carriage in the picture, which was a sporting vehicle made to accommodate hunting dogs, still exists.This stable was the fourth built at


An Essay on "A Bird that Whistles" by Peter Waddell

President Thomas Jefferson took office on the then-Inauguration Day of March 4, 1801, following a party win in the contentious campaign of the previous autumn, and the bitter congressional balloting that followed in January and February to determine between Jefferson and Aaron Burr, who would be the president and who the vice president.From the beginning Jefferson had thought the President's House


An Artist Visits the White House Past

The fourteen paintings in this series were commissioned from Peter Waddell beginning in 2004 by the White House Historical Association. It was the associations wish that the artist create well-researched pictures representing different periods from the White House past that were not drawn, painted, or photographed definitively in their own times. Rather than attempting to capture great events, Waddell decided to


A Neighbor Returns More Than a Cup of Sugar

In 2009, White House neighbors on Lafayette Square shared a fascinating surprise. In October 2008, Decatur House, an historic property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located in its storage a painting that had been purchased for the White House in 1890. The removal of the painting from the White House in the early twentieth century is undocumented, but its return is


Amenities & Living Comforts

The first bath tubs in the White House were portable and made of tin; water was hauled in buckets. Running water was piped into the White House in 1833. Gaslighting, installed in the White House in 1848, replaced candles and oil lamps. A central heating system was installed in the White House in 1837 when many people still warmed themselves with a log


Architecture: 1950s-2000s

1950sSoon after moving into the White House in 1945, President Truman noticed large areas of cracking in the plaster throughout the house. A structural survey revealed major problems caused by stress from the 1902 floor-bearing steel beams and the weight of the third floor and roof, all pressing against the inner brick walls. In 1948 Truman appointed a Commission on the Renovation of