Skip to main content

TopCommentsRedux

White House
The White House circa 1860

But First, A Word From Our Sponsor:

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The diarist poster reserves the right to edit all content.

Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us beneath the doodle...

I need not tell anyone here that the White House has had a long and storied history. Built between 1792 and 1800 with the assistance of early African Americans both free and enslaved, destroyed by fire by the British in 1814 and updated in less than optimum ways as modern conveniences came along, the White House like anything else began to show its age.

By the time Truman came into the office after the death of Roosevelt in 1945, the structure was in a serious state of decay.

Floors no longer merely creaked; they swayed. The president’s bathtub was sinking into the floor. A leg of Margaret’s piano broke through the floor in what is today the Private Dining Room. Engineers did a thorough examination and found plaster in a corner of the East Room sagging as much as 18 inches. Wooden beams had been weakened by cutting and drilling for plumbing and wiring over 150 years, and the addition of the steel roof and full third floor in 1927 added weight the building could no longer handle. They declared the whole house to be in imminent danger of collapse.
In letters Truman wrote to his wife, he jokes about the condition of the building.
"The damned place is haunted, sure as shootin. . . . You and Margie had better come back and protect me before some of these ghosts carry me off."  ~Harry Truman, in a letter to his wife Bess, September 8, 1946

"The floors pop and the drapes move back and forth. I can just imagine old Andy and Teddy having an argument over Franklin," he wrote to her in June 1945.

Cosmetic surgery was no longer an option. The White House was in need of not merely a renovation, but an intervention. It would have to be gutted and the interior completely rebuilt. The President was moved across the street to the Blair House and reconstruction on the mansion began in early 1948. The project was ambitious and the task monumental. A photographer named Abbie Rowe was hired to document the process.
It would fall to Abbie Rowe to keep the complete photographic record of the renovation of the White House, a project to which he devoted a major part of his time and talent between 1948 and 1952. In the process he produced hundreds of detailed black and white photographs to document almost every aspect of the work that transformed the White House to meet the complexity of the modern presidency while remaining faithful to the spirit of the original James Hoban design. One aspect of Abbie Rowe's photographic duties is unique among those photographers who covered the Presidency. From 1949 to 1952, he served as the official photographer for the renovation of the White House.
The Smithsonian has published a collection of Rowe's photographs on flickr. I had known about the Truman renovation, but had never seen these photographs and they are astonishing.

Official Photographer of the White House Renovation, 03/03/1950
Official Photographer of the White House Renovation, 03/03/1950

President Harry S. Truman and the Committee for the Renovation of the White House, 06/20/1949
President Harry S. Truman and the Committee for the Renovation of the White House, 06/20/1949

Renovation Work on the White House, ca. 1950
Renovation Work on the White House, ca. 1950

Construction Equipment inside the White House, ca. 1950
Construction Equipment inside the White House, ca. 1950

White House, Lower Corridor, 02/14/1950
White House, Lower Corridor, 02/14/1950

Second Floor Oval Study above Blue Room during the White House Renovation, 03/09/1950
Second Floor Oval Study above Blue Room during the White House Renovation, 03/09/1950

View from the Lincoln Room during the White House Renovation, 01/23/1951
View from the Lincoln Room during the White House Renovation, 01/23/1951

Northeast View of the State Dining Room during the White House Renovation, 01/23/1952
Northeast View of the State Dining Room during the White House Renovation, 01/23/1952

President Harry S. Truman and First Lady Bess Truman Returning to the White House after the Renovation, 03/27/1952
President Harry S. Truman and First Lady Bess Truman Returning to the White House after the Renovation, 03/27/1952

The result of this effort gave us a White House that has stood on solid footing 61 years later and remains a beloved symbol of our democratic process. I urge you to go look at the rest of the collection of photographs. It really makes you appreciate what we were are capable of doing as a nation when we set our minds and our ingenuity on important tasks.

Now on to Tops!

TOP COMMENTS  
March 3, 2013

Thanks to tonight's Top Comments contributors! Let us hear from YOU
when you find that proficient comment.

From Noddy:

Frankenoid for using the term googlecondria in Ellid's diary Books So Bad They're Good: Better Living Through Health Quackery.
And from your diarist Steveningen:
From my diary Cardinal Keith O'Brien admits to diddling priests while championing anti-gay bitory, gizmo59 just nails the potential unraveling of the Catholic church.

TOP MOJO
March 2, 2013


(excluding Tip Jars and first comments)

Got mik!

  1) Divorce him by MarEng — 198
  2) least helpful comment ever by thankgodforairamerica — 152
  3) Please file those papers. Now. by Susan from 29 — 96
  4) Few of our politicians, including the president, by One Pissed Off Liberal — 90
  5) Florida Sinkholes by JekyllnHyde — 84
  6) BTW, that may be the best rejoinder from by ontheleftcoast — 82
  7) Do you seriously think we would marry by RoCali — 79
  8) Robert Reich is just one of many by Phoebe Loosinhouse — 79
  9) Your ignorance is astounding by BoiseBlue — 73
10) thank you- by thankgodforairamerica — 71
11) A heroic post and a total surprize.  I hope you by Boston Beans — 69
12) Between this pumping and sea rising because... by Shockwave — 68
13) Can you define "late"? by yashko — 65
14) after reading your links by sc kitty — 65
15) question I  would like asked... by Dave in Columbus — 62
16) Omg, Brandon's only about 50 miles from my home... by markthshark — 61
17) that's the thing- by thankgodforairamerica — 59
18) How do you reconcile that comment by YucatanMan — 59
19) I will be honest...I didn't read all of this by justmy2 — 58
20) Not true -- Reich's been on the progressive, by Oliver St John Gogarty — 57
21) Every day the news gets a little more like a by Dave in Columbus — 57
22) about a year ago he asked why we're not divorced by thankgodforairamerica — 56
23) Good Morning! by kishik — 55
24) schools, churches, playgrounds by Avila — 55
25) I'll bet you $100 he was a regular Prince by ontheleftcoast — 55
26) This is hard by anastasia p — 55
27) Stories like yours... by Dahankster — 53
28) I've felt like this a few times by Fineena — 53
29) A Quaker family whose son was murdered by MsSpentyouth — 52
30) Way to victim blame there! by Mortifyd — 52
31) You're welcome and you make a great point by Phoebe Loosinhouse — 52
32) You're in a Potentially Dangerous Situation by coldwynn — 52

TOP PHOTOS
March 2, 2013


Enjoy jotter's wonderful PictureQuilt™ below. Just click on the picture and it will magically take you to the comment that features that photo. Have fun, Kossacks!

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site