ETCetera Magazine

The September issue of the typewriter enthusiast’s ETCetera Magazine is out, and features an article by Peter Weil detailing the creation and operation of the old White House telegraph and communications room. I’m happy to say that WHM was a help to him in the creation of the article, and he graciously acknowledged the site for information, photos, and diagrams. Thanks, Peter!

Comedy Central is channel 68, Mr. President

In the previous post’s comments, visitor Rod pointed out that the White House has a high-res photostream on Flickr. It includes a fantastic photo of the president’s private Oval Office study, wherein you can see the staff has conveniently provided the president with a hotel-style channel legend. Man, those guys think of everything. Thanks Rod and also Colton! And thanks, White House Photo Office!

UPDATE: I’ve been all thru the photostream now. Phew! What a trove! Check the What’s New page tomorrow morning!

Pete goes to a presidential museum

I’m very pleased to announce that Peter Sharkey is:

…very excited and honored to announce that my work will be on display from February 9th to May 24th, 2009 at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

Check the pics and details one Wingnut’s Workings! Weather permitting, I will make a hasty trip up there on Friday. Pete, I’m mortified that I haven’t been checking Wingnut’s Workings every day! (In my defense, I’ve been busy shortening Hamlet).

Speaking of which, check out the recreation of the Cabinet Room rug!

Gigantic pics

After scouring the Web for White House photos a measley few hundred pixels across, it’s a breath of fresh air to find John Bailey’s Flickr photostreams for White House Events and Washington DC available at more than 4000 pixels across. There are also marvelous photos of the interior of Blair House, Air Force 1, Marine 1, and various other subjects.

For the largest images, click the ALL SIZES icon, then click the Original link.

Flickr icons

And remember to keep an eye on the Flickr White House photostream.

WHM goes international

In addition to my interviews with Japanese TV, Pete Sharkey’s 3D model of the White House appeared on Austrian television…! From Wingnut’s Workings:

On Inauguration Day I had the honor and pleasure of having my White House model of the Residence and Wings used by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation for their coverage on January 20th.

Congratulations to Pete!


I want to acknowledge those kind souls who have contributed recently to the upkeep of the WHM.

  • Dennis
  • David
  • Logan
  • Casey
  • Glendon
  • Faerie’s Finest
  • Rodney
  • Daniel
  • Rick
  • EL
  • Paul
  • Janet

I wish I had bitten the bullet and upgraded the site to its own server for January. There was only a real crush of visitors for three days or so, but I’m afraid many new visitors were disappointed that the site didn’t load quickly. WHM never actually went down, tho (thank you, GoDaddy), and the mirror was always available and will continue to be until I’m sure it’s no longer necessary.

For reference, the site typically gets about 13,000 page views a day. That ramped up to 30,000 in the week before the inauguration. The 20th and 21st saw about 120,000 page views each, with the 22nd seeing 83,000. It’s now ramped down to 46,000, altho the mirror shot up to around to 25,000 since I added a link to the front page of the main site.

Hopefully along the way we’ve picked up a few more regular White House enthusiasts. I noticed that Pete’s Facebook group White House Fanatics has nearly reached 100 members now. Hurray!

Flickr photos

I found some terrific photos on Flickr of a 2008 White House tour by user Brooksini. Here’s one of the Butler’s Pantry, cleverly taken thru the door window.

These photos are included in a photo pool I didn’t know about called, appropriately, The White House. I’ll be keeping an eye on that. Here’s a fascinating one from that collection by user KRSPO. It shows the door to the little closet under the South Portico stairs.

UPDATE: I’ve also added several photos from Webshots, with particularly good ones of the elusive East Wing Lobby by user morgancbarr.

Upstairs at the White House

Going back thru JB West’s memoir, I decided to add some of the photos found in there. Several of them I haven’t seen from any other source and depicted rooms at times that I don’t have covered otherwise. They aren’t very good quality images—screened and printed in low quality. Does anybody have the hard back version and are those photos reproduced at higher quality?

UPDATE: The hardback does have better quality photos, and I found a copy for less than $5, including shipping.

Magazines and thanks!

I just got tipped off about old issues of magazines with good articles on the White House, and I managed to find them on Ebay and buy them for $17 each (including shipping):

  • Life: January 4, 1937—The Roosevelt White House (with a diagram of the West Wing to die for)
  • Life: July 5, 1968—Special Issue: The Presidency, with diagrams and photos (the primary source for my East Wing floor plan)
  • Rolling Stone: July 29, 1976—President Ford’s son Jack in the White House

Thanks to Alec and Rod….

…And many thanks to Sharon, Kathryn, and especially Lynne for their donations and happy new year to all!

By the way, feel free to suggest any other old White House magazine issues. The Internet is amazing. I’m telling you, this thing is going to be big.


A number of people have contributed monetarily to recently. With the recent leap in visitorship and associated web hosting costs (which are still pretty low, tho, to be honest), it’s much appreciated.

  • Rebecca
  • Steven
  • Robert
  • Beth
  • Latir


You asked for it (or sat quietly with an expectant look on your face)—you got it: the inimitable Peter Sharkey has provided us with the Residence sub-basement and basement mezzanine plans from photos of the original plans (I am trying to get the source to send me scans or copies).

I have inserted them into the overall blue print and posted them on their own page. And I’ve created separate pages for the Dressing Room, Laundry, and AC Control Room. I’ll take some time this week looking back over the Truman-era photos for more images of basement rooms.

Marine One

I finally added Peter Sharkey’s wonderful model of the new Marine One to the 3-D Models page. He created it quite a long while ago, but it looks great. I even did an X-ray view that looks very cool. (When I say I “did” it, I mean I clicked an option that says “X-Ray view.” Pete is the genius here.)

Planeta Fascinante

The latest issue of my favorite Spanish-language magazine, Planeta Fascinante, is on the stands, and I naturally rushed out to get it. So there I am, reading “Se pueden leer los pensamientos?” (“Have you lost your thoughts of Mentos?”*) and I turn the page to find none other than Peter Sharkey’s 3-D White House diagrams!

The article concerns the security of the White House and its anti-bomber defenses. Unfortunately, the editors seem to have taken the liberty of moving the Despacho Oval from the Ala Del Oeste to the Salon Amarillo, for some reason. But the images look great, don’t they?

Congratulations, Pete!

* My Spanish, she is a little rusty.


Pete sent me a note about a great gallery of pics taken by a singers at the White House (thanks, Bob and Cherrie!) in, apparently, April. They show not only the state rooms where they performed but the sub-basement dressing room! I’ve added a couple to the semi-secret Sub-Basement page.

There’s one where people are seated under a coat rack, which you can also see in the 1992 HABS photo under the stairs. That suggests that there’s actually very little space down there.

Also, I’ve widened the blog. I’ve learned a lot about blog templates and CSS since starting yet another website awhile ago.

New photos

I added a number of new photos from a White House visitor named Daniel (go forward from here in his gallery) and a couple from older archives that I had a hard time placing. Most are in the residence.

Also, I’ve received quite a number of photos by e-mail lately. Be assured that I’m looking at them, but I don’t always have time to respond or place them yet.

Time’s photo blog

Time‘s photo blog is an interesting thing. On occasion, I’ve gotten some very good WH interior photos from the site, altho they tend to be odd and ambiguous. Today’s photo is of a “lower press office,” which I assume to mean an office belonging to the press secretary’s staff located in the ground floor of the West Wing and not an office shared by press correspondents from The Peoria Thrifty Nickel and Inside Edition.

UPDATE: Anonymous explains that it’s actually a press secretary staff office off the briefing room.

A couple of days ago—as was noted in comments by Winnipeg’s Mike B—Time labeled a picture of the Diplomatic Reception Room as the “Indian Treaty Room” (which is a big meeting hall in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across from the White House). Anyone who reads the comments on this blog knows that I have no room to criticize anyone for mislabeling WH locations, but that was an odd one.

Generally, the pictures are not of the action of an event but of preparation for it or of figures at the margins, often members of the press themselves. They expanded it to allow for pictures of the “race to the White House” and not just the WH itself, which is a little annoying. Sometimes I think it’s really meant as an artsy outlet for the creative tendencies of the WH press photographers, but some of the shots are just boring or newsy.


Hey, super trivia deep background king Ken Jennings mentioned us. He’s looking for portraits of presidents suitable for reproduction. (I know, I know: most first ladies found their husbands suitable for reproduction. He already thought of that joke. He has a brain the size of Andrew Jackson’s cheese wheel.)

The WaPo also mentioned us, in regard to the movies and TV page.

And the AP references the Queen’s Bedroom page.