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The West Wing of the
White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. preside ...

White House
houses the offices of the
president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of ...

president of the United States
. The West Wing contains the
Oval Office The Oval Office is the formal working office space of the president of the United States. It is located in the West Wing of the White House, in Washington, D.C., part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. The oval-shape ...

Oval Office
, the Cabinet Room, the
Situation Room The Situation Room, officially known as the John F. Kennedy Conference Room, is a conference room A small conference room in Playa Vista, Los Angeles in May 2006. A conference hall, conference room, or meeting room is a room In a building, ...

Situation Room
, and the
Roosevelt Room The Roosevelt Room is a meeting room in the West Wing of the White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, ...
. The West Wing's four floors contain offices for the
vice president A vice president, also director in British English, is an officer An officer is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously apply ...
,
White House chief of staff The White House chief of staff position is the successor to the earlier role of the Secretary to the President of the United States, secretary to the president of the United States. The role was formalized as the assistant to the president in 194 ...
, the
counselor to the president Counselor to the President is a title used by high-ranking political advisors to the president of the United States and senior members of the White House Office. The current officeholders are Steve Ricchetti and Jeffrey Zients. The position sho ...
, the
senior advisor to the president Senior Advisor to the President is a title used by high-ranking political advisors to the president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. ...
, the
White House press secretary The White House press secretary is a senior White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washingt ...
, and their support staffs. Adjoining the press secretary's office, in the
colonnade In classical architecture Classical architecture usually denotes architecture which is more or less consciously derived from the principles of Greek and Ancient Roman architecture, Roman architecture of classical antiquity, or sometimes even m ...

colonnade
between the West Wing and the
Executive Residence The Executive Residence is the central building of the White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., a ...
is the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room along with workspace for the
White House press corps The White House press corps is the group of journalist A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worth form and disseminates it to the public. The act or pro ...
.


History

Before the construction of the West Wing, presidential staff worked on the western end of the second floor of what is now the Executive Residence. However, when
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president o ...

Theodore Roosevelt
became president, he found that the existing offices in the mansion were insufficient to accommodate his family of six children as well as his staff. A year later, in 1902, First Lady
Edith Roosevelt Edith Kermit Roosevelt (Maiden and married names, née Carow; August 6, 1861 – September 30, 1948) was the second wife of President Theodore Roosevelt and served as the first lady of the United States during his presidency from 1901 to 1909. She ...

Edith Roosevelt
hired
McKim, Mead & White McKim, Mead & White was an American architectural firm that came to define architectural practice, urbanism, and the ideals of the American Renaissance in fin de siècle New York. The firm's founding partners Charles Follen McKim (1847–1909), W ...
to separate the living quarters from the offices, to enlarge and modernize the public rooms, to re-do the landscaping, and to redecorate the interior. Congress approved over half a million dollars for the renovation. The West Wing was originally intended as a temporary office structure, built on the site of the extensive greenhouses and stables. The President's Office and the Cabinet Room took up the eastern third of the building closest to the Residence and attached colonnaded terrace. Roosevelt's rectangular office with adjacent Cabinet Room through a set of double doors which was located approximately where the Roosevelt Room is now near the centre.William Seale, ''The President's House'' (White House Historical Association, 1986), pp. 946-49. In 1909,
William Howard Taft William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of ...

William Howard Taft
expanded the building southward, covering the tennis court. He placed the first
Oval Office The Oval Office is the formal working office space of the president of the United States. It is located in the West Wing of the White House, in Washington, D.C., part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. The oval-shape ...

Oval Office
at the centre of the addition's south facade, reminiscent of the oval rooms on the three floors of the White House. Later, at the outset of his presidency,
Herbert Hoover Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician and engineer who served as the 31st president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of gove ...

Herbert Hoover
rebuilt the West Wing, excavating a partial basement, and supporting it with structural steel. The completed building, however, lasted less than seven months. On December 24, 1929, the West Wing was significantly damaged by an electrical fire. This four-alarm fire was the most destructive to strike the White House since the
Burning of Washington The Burning of Washington was a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, British invasion of Washington City (now Washington, D.C.), the capital of the United States, during the War of 1812#Chesapeake Campaign, Chesapeake Campaign of the Wa ...
115 years earlier. One hundred thirty firefighters, over nineteen engine companies, and four truck companies were needed to extinguish the blaze. Caused either by a faulty or blocked chimney
flue A flue is a duct, pipe Pipe(s) or PIPE(S) may refer to: Common uses * Pipe (fluid conveyance) Carbon Steel Pipe in a storage yard Plastic (PVC) pipes A pipe is a tubular section or hollow cylinder A cylinder (from ) has tradit ...
or defective wiring, the fire began in the attic of the building where an estimated 200,000 government pamphlets were stored. These papers quickly ignited.Treese, Joel D. Phifer, Evan
The Christmas Eve West Wing Fire of 1929
White House Historical Association The White House Blue Room refurbished in 1995 with contributions from the White House Historical Association's White House Endowment Trust. The White House Historical Association, founded in 1961 through efforts of First Lady Jacqueline Kenned ...
. Retrieved June 4, 2020
Many of the important documents in the area were recently moved to the
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
following a minor remodel of the building."Fire Wrecks The White House Offices; Hoover Rushes from Party to Watch it; Aides Brave Smoke to save his papers".
!-- https://www.nytimes.com/1929/12/25/archives/fire-wrecks-the-white-house-offices-hoover-rushes-from-party-to.html --> ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
''. December 25, 1929. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
The fire was noticed at approximately 8:00 pm by White House messenger Charlie Williamson, and immediate action was taken to save items in the building. Hoover had the West Wing rebuilt, and added air-conditioning. The fourth and final major reorganization was undertaken less than three years later by
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
. Dissatisfied with the size and layout of President Hoover's West Wing, he engaged New York architect
Eric Gugler Eric Gugler (March 13, 1889 – May 17, 1974) was an American Neoclassical architecture, Neoclassical architect, interior designer, sculptor and muralist. He was selected by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to design the Oval Office. The directive to wring the most office space out of the existing building was responsible for its narrow corridors and cramped staff offices. Gugler's most notable change was the addition to the east side containing a new Cabinet Room, Secretary's Office, and Oval Office. The new office's location gave presidents greater privacy, allowing them to slip back and forth between the White House and the West Wing without being in full view of the staff. As the size of the president's staff grew over the latter half of the 20th century, the West Wing generally came to be seen as too small for its modern governmental functions. Today, most of the staff members of the
Executive Office of the President Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief e ...
are located in the adjacent
Eisenhower Executive Office Building The Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB)—formerly known as the Old Executive Office Building (OEOB) and even earlier as the State, War, and Navy Building—is a U.S. government building situated just west of the White House The ...

Eisenhower Executive Office Building
. File:White House Office Building, and tennis court c.1909.jpg, Original West Wing and tennis court, circa 1903 File:West Wing between 1910 and 1920 cropped.jpg, Expanded West Wing, circa the 1910s. President Taft's 1909 expansion covered most of the tennis court. Note the "bow" of the first Oval Office. File:President Hoover views West Wing fire ruins 15 January 1930 cropped.jpg, President Hoover views West Wing fire ruins, January 15, 1930 File:West-wing-1934-construction.jpg, Modern West Wing under construction, circa 1933 File:Oval Office Exterior.jpg, Exterior of the modern Oval Office, completed 1934


First floor


Oval Office


Cabinet Room


Roosevelt Room

Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...

Richard Nixon
also renamed the room, previously called by Franklin Roosevelt the "Fish Room" (where he kept
aquarium An aquarium (plural: ''aquariums'' or ''aquaria'') is a vivarium Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona A vivarium (Latin, literally for "place of life"; plural: ''vivaria'' or ''vivariums'') is an area, usually enclosed, for keeping and raisi ...

aquarium
s, and where
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
displayed trophy fish), in honour of the two presidents Roosevelt: Theodore, who first built the West Wing, and Franklin, who built the current Oval Office. By tradition, a portrait of
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
hangs over the mantel of the
Roosevelt Room The Roosevelt Room is a meeting room in the West Wing of the White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, ...
during the administration of a president from the
Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Party and similar terms may also refer to: Active parties Africa *Botswana Democratic Party *Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea *Gabonese Democratic Party *Democ ...
and a portrait of
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president o ...

Theodore Roosevelt
hangs during the administration of a
Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
president (although
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
chose to retain the portrait of Theodore Roosevelt above the mantel). In the past, the portrait not hanging over the mantel hung on the opposite wall. However, during the first term of
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the Un ...

George W. Bush
, an audio-visual cabinet was placed on the opposite wall providing secure audio and visual conference capabilities across the hall from the Oval Office.


Press Briefing Room

During the 1930s, the
March of Dimes March of Dimes is a United States nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, ...
constructed a swimming pool so that Franklin Roosevelt could exercise, as therapy for his
polio Poliomyelitis, commonly shortened to polio, is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology ...

polio
-related disability. Richard Nixon had the swimming pool covered over to create the Press Briefing Room, where the
White House Press Secretary The White House press secretary is a senior White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washingt ...
gives daily briefings.


White House press corps

The
journalists A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and disseminates it to the public. The act or process mainly done by the journalist is called journalism ...
,
correspondents A correspondent or on-the-scene reporter is usually a journalist or Pundit (expert), commentator for a magazine, or an agent who contributes reports to a newspaper, or All-news radio, radio or television news, or another type of company, from a ...
, and others who are part of the White House press corps have offices near the press briefing room. File:Barack Obama on the phone in his private study.jpg, Oval Office Study, 2009 File:Photograph of President Reagan and Vice-President Bush eating lunch in the Oval Office Study - NARA - 198591.tif, Private Dining Room, 1988 File:George W. Bush meets in Roosevelt Room October 20, 2006.jpg, Roosevelt Room, 2006 File:Watching flight of Astronaut Shepard on television. Attorney General Kennedy, McGeorge Bundy, Vice President Johnson... - NARA - 194236.jpg, Secretary's office, 1961 File:Bush - 2007-10-17 press release.jpg, James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, 2007. Formerly, the swimming pool.


Ground floor


Situation Room


White House Mess

The West Wing ground floor is also the site of a small
restaurant A restaurant is a business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." ...

restaurant
operated by the Presidential Food Service and staffed by Naval culinary specialists and called the White House Mess. It is located underneath the Oval Office, and was established by President on June 11, 1951. File:Obama calls Brewer about Tucson shooting.jpg, Ground Floor Lobby File:White House Situation Room Friday May 18 2007.jpg, The Situation Room, newly renovated during the Presidency of George W. Bush File:Pumpkins decorate the Navy Mess in the West Wing.jpg, Entrance to the White House Mess, decorated for Halloween


Second floor


Depiction on ''The West Wing'' TV series

In 1999, ''The West Wing'' television series brought greater public attention to the workings of the presidential staff, as well as to the location of those working in the West Wing. The show followed the working lives of a fictional Democratic U.S. president,
Josiah Bartlet Josiah Edward "Jed" Bartlet is a fictional character from the American television serial drama ''The West Wing'' created by Aaron Sorkin and portrayed by actor Martin Sheen. The role earned Sheen a Golden Globe Award for Golden Globe Award for B ...
, and his senior staff. When asked whether the show accurately captured the working environment in 2003, Press Secretary
Scott McClellan Scott McClellan (born February 14, 1968) was the 22nd White House Press Secretary (2003–06) for President George W. Bush, and author of a controversial No. 1 ''New York Times'' bestseller about the Bush Administration titled '' What Happened' ...
commented that the show portrayed more foot traffic and larger rooms than in the real West Wing.


References


External links


White House Museum: West Wing
with floorplan and historical images
West Wing Interactive
from ''National Journal Magazine'' {{coord, 38.8975, -77.0376, region:US-DC_type:landmark, display=title White House McKim, Mead & White buildings