TR vs Taft

On the comments for the Reagan post, visitor Anonymous noted that one of the West Wing page pics looked a little odd (specifically, the one that says “(note the clothes line on the east side)”), which sparked a reevaluation of the early WW images. John in NOLA noted that the Roosevelt colonial Rose Garden was intact that pic, so it couldn’t be 1920 as I had labeled it and in fact looked to be freshly expanded by Taft in 1909.

I agreed and made the change and then noticed that what had led me to label that pic “1920” was my mistaken understanding of the evolution of the WW roof. Once I looked harder at the west side, I realized that a pic that I thought was circa 1910 (post Taft expansion) was probably 1908 (pre Taft expansion). The difference is in the roof shape, window count (5 for TR; 9 for Taft), and the addition of a west side entrance. This is great, because I was hoping to find a good pic of the WW in TR’s time, and didn’t realize I already had one. That pic is now captioned “Theodore Roosevelt’s original Executive Office Building, circa 1908.”

3 thoughts on “TR vs Taft

  1. Yes, Derek, I had wondered about that picture myself. It is easy to see the expansion “line” in the roof and in the windows between TR and Taft. One cannot help but say how brilliant McKim was in the Roosevelt reconstruction of the WH.
    Even though incredibly small by today’s standards, the TR WW must have been a wonderful change from the cramped east half of the Second Floor.

  2. McKim – the right man at the right time! His basic scheme has lasted 105 years – longer than any of the others – except Hoban’s…

    I’ve always thought it was interesting that it very often seems to be the New Yorkers who move into the White House with the confidence to make the Big Changes. Chester Arthur, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy… Well, OK Harry Truman is the exception that proves the pattern. Truman was a force of nature! No, I’m not a New Yorker, but it’s always just seemed interesting.

    McKim had done wonderful things at the White House, and there was Stanford White swinging on a velvet trapeeze with Evelyn Nesbit, but that’s a whole other Jerry Springer Show…

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