Historical floor plans

I recently added an 1803 state floor plan to complement the 1853 plans I had added a short while ago. I wish I had a matching 1803 second floor, but the first floor shows, I believe, one of the prime differences between the 1800 mansion and the 1817 mansion: the strange and awkward original grand stair at the west end of the Cross Hall. (Oh, what I would give for a contemporary etching of Jefferson on that stair…).

I also have a plan from around 1880, and I thought I had one from 1864 or so, which would have shown the house as Lincoln knew it, with the private passage thru today’s Treaty Room to his office. Look for these soon.

3 thoughts on “Historical floor plans

  1. OK, it’s 3:30 am and my back is acting up – bigtime – so once again the White House is soothing me away from my miseries…

    That’s Benjamin Latrobe’s plan of the Main Floor as it apparently was in 1803. William Seale has suggested that it may have been drawn in 1807 (I believe), as a record of how things were earlier.

    Notice how – in Latrobe’s drawing – the floorplan of the Oval Saloon (today’s Blue Room) is EXACTLY the same floorplan as the Yellow Oval Room is today! When the house was rebuilt in 1816-17, the floor plan was evidently altered to be essentially what it is today – the three doors at the north end of the wall.

    In the pre-fire Oval Saloon (Blue Room), instead of the doors into what are now the Green and Red Rooms, there were niches that were made up to look like actual windows, except that instead of panes of glass, there were panes of mirrors! Then the niches were treated exactly like the windows in the bow, with red damask curtains. Very much like the Oval Parlor in the Nathaniel Russell house in Charleston, S.C.

  2. Check the photo pages in Vol 1 of Bill Seale’s “President’s House” for Lincoln-era floorplans.

  3. I can’t understand why the floor plan shows the “secret passage” through the Treaty Room during Lincoln’s time, because pictures of his office show a desk shoved up against the door. Then again, maybe the picture was done early in his administration, before Lincoln discovered the need to be able to move secretly.

    And, why not build secret passges into the White House in the first place? That would have been really cool. One minute the President is in the East Room, next minute he is in the Oval Libary.

    What a place to play “Clue.”

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