In his first year in office, President Theodore Roosevelt, after the assassination of William McKinley, embarked as “Designer in Chief.” He officially christened the executive mansion The White House, Washington, DC.
That edict led to a monumental re-model of the tired old structure to include the family residence and the West Wing.
The nation’s youngest president brought a well-earned Eastern upbringing, Western experience, and wartime military service into the twentieth century….and in his transformation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“The White House is the property of the nation, and so in as much as it is compatible with living therein, it should be kept as it originally was, for the same reasons that we keep Mount Vernon as it originally was. The stately simplicity of its architecture is an expression of the character of the period in which it was built, and is in accord with the purposes it was designed to serve. It is a good thing to preserve such buildings as historic monuments which keep alive our sense of continuity with the nation’s past.
I don’t think that any family has ever enjoyed the White House more than we have. I was thinking about it just this morning when Mother and I took breakfast on the portico and afterwards walked about the lovely grounds and looked at the stately historic old house. It is a wonderful privilege to have been here and to have been given the chance to do this work, and I should regard myself as having a small and mean mind if, in the event of defeat, I felt soured at not having had more, instead of being thankful for having had so much.
We were all of us, I am almost ashamed to say, rather blue at getting back in the White House, simply because we missed Sagamore Hill so much. But it is very beautiful and we feel very ungrateful at having even a passing fit of blueness, and we are enjoying it to the full now.”
Dakota Datebook: Remembering Theodore Roosevelt is written and performed by Steve Stark. Funding provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.