Photographs of the White House being completely gutted and reconstructed (20pics)
When Harry S Truman became President of the United States, he inherited a White House that was structurally unsound. A lack of investment during the Depression and war years meant the mansion was in danger of collapse. Between 1949 and 1952, the President moved out while the White House was completely gutted, leaving only the outer walls around a shell. The mansion was then rebuilt using concrete and steel beams in place of its original wooden joists.
A bulldozer removing debris from the inside of the White House, during the renovation of the building, circa 1950. The bulldozer had to be taken apart and moved into the White House in pieces, as President Harry S Truman would not allow a hole large enough to fit the bulldozer to be cut into the walls of the White House.
Workmen are installing reinforced steel for laying of the concrete roofs of the Fan Room and other rooms in the northeast corner of the White House, 6 November 1950.
Two unidentified men stand in what remains of the second floor Oval Study above the Blue Room, 9 March 1950. The north wall and part of the floor have been removed for the installation of steel shoring columns.
Northeast view of White House Lobby from the Main corridor during the renovation, 27 December 1949.
Two unidentified workmen are dismantling the bathtub in room B-17, in the northwest corner of the second floor of the White House, 10 February 1950.
Window openings provide bursts of light into the cavernous interior of the White House, supported only by a web of temporary steel supports, 17 May 1950. The exterior walls rest on new concrete underpinnings, which allow earth-moving equipment to dig a new basement.
To underscore the size of the massive new ventilation system being installed above the tunnel in the new White House basement, the photographer placed workmen inside the illuminated ductwork, 19 July 1951.
View of the north wall of the second floor corridor of the White House during the renovation, 9 February 1950. The truss work in the walls of the North Hall have been removed.
View from the first floor landing to the basement during the removal of the Joliet stone steps from the main stairway of the White House, 23 February 1950.
Photograph taken in sitting room number 16 looking west into small bedroom number 17 at the northwest corner of the second floor of the White House, 27 February 1950. The studding between these rooms and the sub-flooring date from 1815-1818 when the White House was reconstructed after being burned by the British in 1814.
Detail of the north wall of the Blue Room after the removal of the plaster from the walls, 20 February 1950. The jambs of the doorways to the Red Room (left) and Green Room (right) have also been removed.
Photograph taken from the east entrance of the lower corridor of the White House, looking west with the East Room above, 14 February 1950. The workmen are demolishing the walls of the lower corridor.
Unidentified workmen are shown removing the west wall between the Rose Room and the main stairway of the White House, 12 April 1950. The whole bricks are being separated for storage.
Northeast View in the East Room during the White House Renovation, Stacks of lumber destined to become new floorboards are piled up in the East Room, 21 June 1951.
Carpenters lay a floor of red oak in herring-bone design over sub-flooring on a third floor corridor, 12 April 1951.
The carpenters are laying the quartered white oak floor in the State Dining Room in a herringbone design, 23 January 1952.
A view of the South Portico of the White House without scaffolding, as renovation work nears completion, 16 February 1952.
Northwest view of the second floor corridor into the West Sitting Room of the White House during the renovation. White House books are being replaced on shelves of new bookcases by unidentified Library of Congress employees, 24 March 1952.
27 March 1952: President Harry S Truman and First Lady Bess W Truman arrive at the White House to reoccupy the building after the massive renovation project is completed.