16 Things About the White House

There is a questionnaire going around the Facebook White House Fanatics group. I you’re reading this, you should consider going the group; it’s the place for all manner of non-political discussions about the White House.

Anyway, here are my answers:

1. You first became aware of the White House when:
Probably the Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, when I was 9. I was very interested in the presidential election. And I’ve stayed interested ever since.

2. You became extremely fascinated with the White House when:

I always loved the White House as both history and architecture, but I only studied it as much as I studied other pieces of great architecture (the skyscrapers of New York, castles of Europe, etc.). About 2004, I started thinking how great it would be to recreate great and/or ruined architecture at full scale, like a complete and painted Parthenon. But I was more attracted to the White House (and also 10 Downing Street) than I was the Parthenon and found a huge amount of detail available about it (less so about 10 Downing Street). And the more I found, the more I wanted to know.

3. Your favorite room at the White House is:
The hiddenest nooks and crannies.

4. If I could have an extremely accurate copy of any object in the White House it would be:
The Reagan Oval Office rug, altho Lord knows what I’d do with it.

5. If you were to save 3 objects from a fire, they would be:
1) The Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington.
2) The Monroe Bellangé sofa.
3) Lincoln’s hand-written Gettysburg Address.

6. If you could visit the White House in any 2 periods in history, you would choose:
I’d love to see the fresh young Jefferson White House and the stuffy late-Victorian White House, say 1893, so I could follow Frances Benjamin Johnston around as her photo assistant.

7. The room you would most like to change is:
I would turn the Queens’ Bedroom suite in a Washington Bedroom suite.

8. How many times have you visited the White House?
Just once from the outside. I should have gone when getting a tour was easy!

9. Your favorite story about the White House:
LBJ demanding an absurd, high-pressure, multi-nozzle shower. That guy was America’s crazy uncle.

10. Your least favorite object in the White House:
Probably the new Green Room rug or else the gold dining chairs.

11. Do you favor the North Portico or the South Portico:
South Portico; it gets all the sun. I have a 16×20 photo I shot of it hanging in my study.

12. You’re an invited overnight guest, where do you hope to dine and sleep?
I’d like a dinner in the Blue Room and a sleeping bag in the Solarium. Who am I kidding? I wouldn’t sleep. I would creep around the basement all night with a sketchbook, tape measure, and camera.

13. If you could give a gift to the White House it would be:
A lost set of early Daguerreotypes, documenting all the interiors, hand-tinted by artists working inside the mansion for accuracy.

14. Your favorite state china service is:
Wilson, with Roosevelt a close second.

15. The best you remember the White House looking in photographs or in video:
I like it in night shots, especially with the West Wing burning the midnight oil.

16. First reactions to visiting the White House:
There’s a lot of junk hidden in the trees on the east side. I think I saw Susan Ford’s Mustang up on blocks.

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9 thoughts on “16 Things About the White House

  1. This is unrelated, but can anyone tell me where exactly in the residence the Super Bowl party was held? The photo on WhiteHouse.gov appears to be the theater, but why would they say “residence” instead of the “theater.”

  2. Hi Colton,

    The photo of Obama is not in the theater but in front of a big large flat screen television. Since President George W. Bush also had a TV in the Treaty Room, there may be a number of places Barack Obama would have had a large screen recently installed for his viewing pleasure . . . that is if Bush didn’t already have a a large screen put in somewhere already.

  3. I dont think I would sleep either, Id be like U , up all night with a Camera and Sketch Book. But it is probally unlikly with security 🙂 We can only Dream !

  4. Only tangentially related: Derek, are you still interested in 10 Downing Street? I happen to have some scans from a vintage book which show the layout of the building as it was in the 1940’s, and was wondering if you’d like a copy.

  5. Wow! I love your site and your blog… I love presidential history, DC history and most of all White House History. I can’t believe I’ve never come across your site before!

    Thanks for all your hard work! You’ve got a new fan.

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