Incredible Photos Of The Gutted White House During Its 1950s Renovation

White House demolition 1950

Photo: The U.S. National Archives / Flickr

When President Harry Truman took office for his second term, the White House was falling apart.The East Room floor was sagging 18 inches. The President’s bathtub was sinking into the floor. And the structure could no longer support the third level and steel roof that were added in 1927.

So in 1948, the First Family was forced to vacate to the nearby Blair House — the official state guest house of the President — and the White House underwent a massive four-year renovation that cost approximately $5.7 million

Photos of the renovation, taken by National Park Service photographer Abbie Rowe and made available by the U.S. National Archive illustrate how massive this undertaking really was.

In total, the renovation cost $5.7 million.

To support the walls, crews poured 126 new concrete support columns that reached depths of 26 feet.

The White House interior was hollow by 1950. It measured 165 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 80 feet high.

Now see what it's like to live there.

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