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White House Ground Floor showing location of principal rooms.
White House State Floor showing location of principal rooms.
White House Second Floor showing location of principal rooms.

The Executive Residence is the central building of the White House Complex located between the East Wing and West Wing. This central building, first constructed 1792–1800, is home to the President of the United States and the First Family. The Executive Residence primarily occupies three floors: the Ground Floor, State Floor, and Second Floor. A third floor contains a solarium, guest rooms, and some recreation rooms for the first family. Two sub-basements, created during the 1948–1952 Truman reconstruction, contain storage and service areas, and a war time shelter for the president and first family.

Contents

Floors

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Sub Basement Mezzanine

This level was added during the 1948 Truman Renovation and has several openings in the floor for large machinery, ductwork and pipes that extend up from the Sub Basement Lower Level. These openings are for Air Conditioning, Program Control, and Electrical Switching, as well as the Water Softener, which is immediately south of the Air Conditioner Room and is under the South Portico. Besides these areas, the Mezzanine contains Storage areas, Dishwasher (and associated Dishware and Flatware rooms), and a Fan room in the North-West corner, and Men's and Women's rooms (South East and North East corners respectively) with stairs from each leading up to the Ground Floor.

Sub Basement Lower Level

This level was added during the 1948 Truman Renovation and contains the two story Air Conditioning and Water softening equipment. Additionally, the Program Control and Electrical Switching areas extend upwards into the Mezzanine. Besides these areas, this level contains large Storage areas, a Heating and Air Control room adjacent to the Air Conditioning room, Men's and Women's rooms in the South-West corner. There are three elevator machinery rooms, an Ushers' room, Incinerator, Laundry, and the Dentist.

Ground Floor

Originally intended as a service area for cooking, laundry and heating, the Ground Floor was rebuilt during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, and again between 1948–1952 during the Truman reconstruction. Today this floor houses several official rooms including the Diplomatic Reception Room, Library, China Room, Map Room, and Vermeil Room. This floor continues to house some White House domestic operations. The kitchen and pantry are located on this floor, along with the office of the curator, and the office of the White House physician. This floor is at the same level as, and connects directly to, the basement level which extends under the North Portico and even further. The bulk of it goes West to East - The Western most portion is in line with the western most wall of the Palm Room, The Eastern most portion is in line with the eastern most wall of the Visitor's Foyer. It contains the flower shop, the carpenters shop as well as the bowling alley, among other rooms. The bowling alley is in the very center of the basement, going north-south. In 1948, as part of the Truman Renovation, the North-East corner of the basement was extended further north so it could contain transformers and air blowers.

State Floor

The State Floor is used for official entertaining and ceremonial functions. The following rooms are found on the State Floor: Entrance Hall, Cross Hall, East Room, Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room, State Dining Room, Family Dining Room, and the Chief Usher's office.

Second Floor

The Second Floor contains the private living apartments of the president and first family. Some of these rooms are used for official entertaining, but most are reserved for private use. The following rooms are found on the Second Floor: Yellow Oval Room, Treaty Room, President's Dining Room, Lincoln Bedroom, Lincoln Sitting Room, Queens' Bedroom, Queens' Sitting Room, Central Hall, East Sitting Hall, and West Sitting Hall. The Truman Balcony is also located on this floor. Four private bedrooms and a dressing room are reserved for the president. Different presidents have used various rooms as their bedroom.

Third floor

During a 1927 renovation the White House attic was rebuilt into a third floor. Though once used for staff bedrooms, no staff currently live in the White House. The third floor contains a music room and recreation rooms for the first family, as well as guest rooms (though foreign heads of state customarily stay at the Blair House). The third floor has a sun room atop the south portico with views of the south lawn. The third floor is ringed by a rooftop promenade.

Further reading

  • Garrett, Wendell. Our Changing White House. Northeastern University Press: 1995. ISBN 1-55553-222-5.
  • McKellar, Kenneth, Douglas W. Orr, Edward Martin, et al. Report of the Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion. Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion, Government Printing Office: 1952.
  • Seale, William. The President's House. White House Historical Association and the National Geographic Society: 1986. ISBN 0-912308-28-1.
  • West, J.B. with Mary Lynn Kotz. Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan: 1973. SBN 698-10546-X.
  • The White House: An Historic Guide. White House Historical Association and the National Geographic Society: 2001. ISBN 0-912308-79-6.

Coordinates: 38°53′51″N 77°02′11″W / 38.8976°N 77.0365°W / 38.8976; -77.0365


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