Turn of the (previous) century

I’ve posted several photos from the 1908 White House book I got on Ebay. It has some interesting insights, altho I haven’t been able to read much of it yet. The photos are c1903 Master Bedroom, Yellow Oval Room, President’s Office (Lincoln Bedroom), Cabinet Room (Treaty Room), Cross Hall, and West Wing. There are a number more of the state floor rooms, but I already have good ones of them. Too bad there is no pic of the West Sitting Hall. There is an interesting one of the stables, but I’m pretty sure that the stables had been moved out of President’s Park well before 1903. (Anyone know which Starbucks now occupies the location?)

UPDATE: John in NOLA pointed out that the Yellow Oval Room pic had to be pre-1902 and sent a terrific c1910 photo of the room showing the fresh walls and new mantelpiece. Also, Robert M sent a juicy stereograph of the Cleveland’s West Sitting Hall (first or second term, I can’t tell–there’s no slim, girlish Frances or chubby, matronly Frances).

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6 thoughts on “Turn of the (previous) century

  1. Great pictures!

    However, I do have a hunch that the “Yellow Oval Room” pic (the one ID’d as “circa 1903”) is probably really around 1900 – just before the Roosevelt 1902 Renovation – because in 1902 McKim decorated the room in “Colonial Revival” and installed the mantle that was in that room all through the 20th century – until it was removed during the Ford administration.

    Also post 1902, the room had the “Chevrolet” paneled wainscot – and was also paneled into sections ABOVE the wainscot – sort of like the pre-Jackie Family Dining Room (these panels seem to have been removed sometime in the 1920’s). I have a picture of the Oval Room in that configuration during the Taft tenure – I’ll see if I can scan it and send it along.

    Glad you got that book – it looks really cool!

  2. I’ve labeled all those photos c1903, but they could be anytime prior to 1908. The book has some clear labeling errors elsewhere. One shows the south face with portico labeled “The White House as it was in 1800”!

  3. Indeed! That pic of the Cleveland West Sitting (and stair-climbing) Hall is juicy! So many pics of the upstairs White House halls from that era are dark – but this one is light and bright and really gives a sense of what the room was like. Thanks, Robert M!

  4. In recent years when the President is holding a news conference from a podium at the entrance to the East Room, something odd appears in the distance behind him, where we ought to see the large doors that are the main entrance to the State Dining Room. Instead, we see something resembling a screen or a curtain. What’s with that?

  5. I think they put up a screen in the background so that WH staff can go about their business without distracting from the presentation. It seems a little awkward to me too.

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