Truman’s White House Renovation

February 19, 2018

By Tab Byrum

Hello everyone and Happy President’s Day!! On this day that we remember all the people who have served our country as Commander In Chief I thought we would take a look at the beautiful home they live in for the time they serve in office, The White House and the major renovation it underwent in the late 40’s and early 1950’s. When the Trumans first moved into the Executive Mansion in 1945 they found the White House in a state of great disrepair, the house had been added onto several times even the addition of a third floor without adequate foundations to hold all the weight. There are stories of during the first two years of the Truman administration of rooms literally swaying on the second floor when people were walking across them and huge chandeliers on the first-floor swaying. It soon became evident that it was no longer safe for the President or anyone to live and work in the White House. President and Mrs. Truman moved across the street to Blair House and a total and complete renovation ensued on the White House. After four years, 1948 to 1952, the Trumans were able to move back in the home and feel safe and proud. The White House Historical Association have amazing pictures, some of which I’m sharing today, of the work as it went on in the house and the final results. Join me today for a trip back in time as we see how the people’s house was saved and made safe and beautiful for all of us. Enjoy!!!

This photo shows the famous East Room as certain elements of the room were being removed and taken down during the renovation.

During an inspection of the White House in 1948 massive cracks were discovered in the original brick and plaster work.

During demolition work in 1950 plaster cornices, original to the White House, by architect James Hobans were discovered. They had been covered up by work done during Teddy Roosevelt’s administration in 1902.

This picture amazes, not only can you see how the entire house was gutted so the foundations could be shored up with steel beams but you can also see how they brought in full-sized trucks and heavy equipment to help with the work. 

This is a photo of the Grand Staircase we are all familiar with, it was taken in 1947 prior to the reconstruction beginning. 

This is the remodeled staircase, it shows how it was reconfigured into the U shape and opened up onto the White House Lobby area. 

This is a view of the Entrance Hall after demolition. You can see the large marble columns after they were set in place and the “Front Door” on the far left. This photo was taken in 1951.

This is the completed Entrance Hall, notice the beautiful light fixtures and the massive planters set between planters that back benches in the Cross Hall.

This photo shows the installation of the fabric on the walls of the Blue Room in March of 1952.

This photo is of the completed Blue Room after the upholstering of the walls is completed and the drapes and furnishings have been installed. 

President and Mrs. Truman prepare to enter their renovated home and are greeted by White House staff and the heads of the renovation. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at what it takes to remodel and renovate a home the size of The White House, the People’s House. Have a great day and Happy President’s Day!!!!


Words are my own.
Images are courtesy of
The White House Historical Assoc.

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