New front page – East Wing Lobby

I realized last night that I’d forgotten to change the front page for the month, so I’ve change it now to a picture of visitors in the East Wing Lobby a couple of years ago.

20 thoughts on “New front page – East Wing Lobby

  1. Thank you! I didn’t want to be the friendly neighborhood pest about it again. 🙂 It’s always something to look forward to.

  2. Off topic, but I just ordered the Reagan White House Entertaining book today. Does anyone already have it? Just wondering if they like it.

  3. I’m reading Seale’s “The President’s House” more carefully this time and am into the Lincoln years. Can I look forward to reading when the windows on the east wall of the East Room were covered over? If not, can someone tell me when and why this happened? I have the same question regarding the window in the State Dining Room that is now blocked.

  4. I am currently rereading Seale’s “The President’s House” and am in the Lincoln years. So far I’ve found no mention of when or why the east windows of the East Room were covered over. Likewise, the west window in the State Dining Room that is now covered. Any help?

  5. I apologize for that 666Bush posting. When I composed my query, typed in my email and password, Google told me I was posting under the fruitloop handle above. No, I wasn’t; never have; can’t understand this.

  6. Hmmm, makes sense. You didn’t seem like a fan of heavy metal, The Big Lebowski, and Mad Magazine, as the profile indicates. I mean, first of all, Mad has always been rabidly anti-Agnew.

  7. To answer Duane’s questions, the windows on the east wall of the East Room were sealed when the White House was rebuilt after the 1814 fire. Two new chimneypieces were added at that time since the two on the west wall were apparently inadequate for heating the space. The center window was kept open, although the fanlight was hidden on the interior by the anthemia or “honeysuckle” frieze. That window was reduced in size in the Truman rebuilt of 1948-52.

    The State Dining Room is a bit more complicated. As you probably know, until 1902 the State Dining Room was considerably smaller than it is now. The northern part of the room was part of the Cross Hall and contained the main staircase. In the rebuild after the 1814 fire the two west windows on the west wall were sealed on the inside, again to make room for an additional chimneypiece. When the conservatory went through one of its periodic enlargements during the Hayes administration, two windows were opened up in the west wall of the State Dining Room to give access to the new “Palm Court.” However, these windows did not correspond to the exterior openings, which were blocked on the inside by the chimneybreast. When the State Dining Room was enlarged to its present size in 1902, McKim restored the exterior configuration of the windows and two of the windows, at the south end and north end of the room, were visible inside, although the north window was smaller inside than outside in order to match the south window. The center window was blocked by the new chimney and fireplace.

    I hope this makes some sort of sense. You can see the changes on the White House Museum website in the first floor plans and in photos taken of the East Room and State Dining Room at various times.

  8. Br. Chris, thanks for the info. Regarding the Dining Room, however, I am a bit confused. The fenestration for the west wall of the White House, like that of the east wall, calls for two windows on each side of the larger central window/door leading to the “patios” over each wing. The window/door was once the west end of the Cross Hall until that part of the Hall was incorporated into the enlarged dining room. That window/door is still a passageway to the patio. Isn’t it the same size as the window/door in the East Room? One window in the dining room is covered, the one next to the door/window on the south side of it. (The other two windows, I know, are part of the pantry.)

  9. I think it is interesting how politics may dictate the placement of art in the White House. On the new front page there is the portrait of FDR holding the Atlantic Charter; which LBJ (a Democrat and protege of FDR)had over the mantle in the Oval Office. I notice now during the George W. Bush (a Republican) years, that same portrait has been banished to the East Wing Lobby!

  10. Hi Duane. I reread my post and it is confusing. I was thinking inside rather than outside and I didn’t make that clear. In the pre-1814 White House the two windows at the south end of the west facade lit the space that became the State Dining Room in the Madison administration. When the house was rebuilt after the fire, those windows were sealed on the inside, although they were still visible on the outside. Two openings were made in that same wall leading into to the Palm Court of the enlarged conservatory during the Hayes administration, but those opening didn’t correspond to the sealed windows, which were removed. During the McKim renovation in 1902 the conservatories were removed and the west facade was restored to its original appearance on the outside. The window furthest to the south opened into the enlarged State Dining Room but the window to its left (north) was sealed because the new chimney breast and fireplace were in the way. The central opening of the center window (as seen from the outside), which formally opened into the Cross Hall/Grand Staircase, now opened into the State Dining Room but the sidelights were sealed on the inside so that the window would match the window on the other side of the fireplace in size and shape. Later on in the Truman rebuilding, the center window of the East Room was also made smaller, apparently to make more room for the paintings of George and Martha Washington, so it is now the same size as the corresponding window in the State Dining Room, but this is kind of an historical accident. Both windows are equipped with french doors to give access to the east and west terraces, but they are treated as windows both inside and out, not doors.

    I’m not sure this is any more clear than my previous post, but I hope something in there answers your questions.

  11. Thanks, Chris, for the clarification. Given the actual space between any two windows in the White House, I would think there’s sufficient room for fireplaces without having to close up windows. Perhaps I’m not thinking of appropriate scale for a fireplace in a larger room, though.

  12. Hello again Duane. Patrick Phillips did a wonderful drawing of the 1817 west wall of the State Dining Room, which he posted for a short time at the White House Fanatics Facebook website . I don’t remember you posting over there so you may want to check it out. I’m sure if you ask Patrick *really* nice he might post it again. (He’s planning on publishing a book on the White House so he’s very careful with his original copyright material.) His drawing show exactly why the windows had to be sealed. The chimney breast covered about half of each window. The width of the chimney breast could not easily be changed because it had to hold a multiple fireplace flues and, with masonry construction, you can’t make the chimney breast wider at the top than at the bottom (at least not very easily). If anything, it has to be wider on the bottom to bear the weight of the masonry.

  13. Scott W. I believe the placement of the FDR portrait in the East Wing Lobby (currently anyway) is because that wing was largely reconstructed during his administration. Also, I have the Reagan WH Entertainment book and do like it, there are some really good pictures to enjoy.

  14. Don’t know, Scott W., that “banishing” is the right word to describe the moving of the FDR portrait to the East Wing lobby. Isn’t that the point of entry for those touring the state rooms? I would think it gets far greater attention in its current location. Now, hanging portraits along the stairway to the sub-basement, that’s banishment. I can think of a set or two for those walls–oh, never mind; we’re a-political on this site.

  15. That particular portrait of FDR is not the generally recognized high profile portrait. The Frank Salisbury portrait tends to get the most attention and has found it’s home in the Roosevelt Room most of the time. The FDR painting in the EW is not what I’d call his official portrait and having it in the EW is not what I would call a slam against him or his memory.

    Copy and paste this link to see the one I’m talking about.

  16. Isn’t it the portrait LBJ had in the Oval Office? Or am I thinking of a different portrait?

    I just think in general the moving of portraits during administrations due to political philosophy (on both sides) is interesting.

  17. Nice, though, isn’t it, that we have a Roosevelt in each party so that the naming of the room–with the appropriate portrait–gives no offense. Or maybe it does anyway!

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