The inside of the White House, after being gutted in 1950 (National Archives)
Did you know that the White House was completely gutted and rebuilt on the inside between 1949 and 1952? After decades of poor maintenance, the building was in danger of collapsing in 1948, which forced President Harry Truman to move out and commission a complete gutting and rebuilding of the building’s insides.
The U.S. National Archives has been publishing photographs showing the gutted White House to its Flickr photostream.
The reconstruction project required that the entire interior of the house be dismantled so that new load-bearing steel beams could be put in.
Although the exterior of the house was basically unchanged when Truman moved back in on March 27, 1952, the interior finishes had little historic value left in them. The entire cost of the rebuilding project: about $5.7 million.
Here are some photographs captured during the process, and the original captions they were published with:
The Shell of the White House during the Renovation
White House, Lower Corridor
Second Floor Oval Study above Blue Room during the White House Renovation
Northeast View in the East Room during the White House Renovation
Northeast View of the State Dining Room during the White House Renovation
Construction Equipment inside the White House
View from the Lincoln Room during the White House Renovation
Bedroom and Sitting Room of the White House during the Renovation
White House East Room
White House Lobby During the Renovation
White House Main Stairway
To underscore the size of the massive new ventilation system being installed above the tunnel in the new White House basement, the photographer placed workmen inside the illuminated ductwork. (National Archives)
You can find more of these photos in this National Archives set on Flickr.