The principal architect of the reconstruction, Charles F. McKim, saw this space serving a new purpose: a third ceremonial White House oval chamber to match the Yellow Oval Room on the Second Floor and the iconic Blue Room on the State Floor. Volume II, page 635 of William Seale's "The President's House."
McKim also designed the East Wing, which was under construction at the time of Roosevelt's death. It was completed in 1918 by Henry Ives Cobb. The West Wing, built between 1877 and 1881, was remodeled in 1902 by John McArthur Jr.
Before becoming president, Theodore Roosevelt spent two years as governor of New York. He wanted his wife, Alice, to have a home that was equally worthy of being called the People's House. So he had McKim create a grand reception room on the second floor that would be suitable for state dinners or other official functions. The result is what is now known as the Diplomatic Reception Room.
Roosevelt appointed McKim as the head of the commission that redesigned the capital city after it was devastated by a series of terrible storms in 1901. The commission's work came to an end when Congress passed legislation providing for the relocation of Washington, D.C., to a site near Baltimore after Roosevelt signed an executive order directing that the federal government be moved there from Philadelphia on March 4, 1910. The new city was to be named after the first president, George Washington.
Architect Charles McKim kept the room's crimson silk velvet walls and starkly contrasted them with the new pristine white neoclassical woodwork during Theodore Roosevelt's big State Room renovations in 1902. He also relocated a magnificent white marble mantle acquired during the Monroe administration from the State Dining Room to the Red Room. Before this renovation, the only red in the room was in the carpeting and in some furniture.
The room was originally called the Blue Room because of its blue silk wallpaper. In 1881, after John Quinn's death, his wife Louisa purchased a house in Washington, D.C., for $40,000 (about $500,000 in today's money). She had it built specifically for her husband, who was serving as minister to Portugal. Upon their return from Europe, where they had been living abroad since 1875, the Quinns moved into their new home, which became known as the Lisbon House. It was here that Mrs. Quinn gave birth to nine children, all but one of whom lived beyond infancy. The one exception was a daughter who died at the age of eleven months.
The family's life in Washington, D.C., was not an easy one. Although John Quinn was wealthy, he spent much of his time negotiating foreign treaties on behalf of the government. This left him little time to take care of his family, so he often sent his wife and children away to other countries for extended periods of time.
The President's Room is one of the most opulent chambers in the United States Capitol, with fresco murals by Greek artist Constantino Brumidi adorning the walls. The area was finished in 1859 as part of the Capitol's extensive expansion, which included new Senate and House wings as well as the new cast-iron dome. The room serves as a meeting place for the president to hold meetings with members of his cabinet and other high-level officials.
The room is about 30 feet wide and 60 feet long, with a domed ceiling that is painted gold. There are two large windows on the east side that look out over the East Lawn of the Capitol. A long wooden table can be drawn up to face the window when the president has someone wanting to speak with him or her privately. An iron railing with carved acanthus leaves surrounds the room, and the floor is made of wood, with a rug placed before each of the four doors leading out of the room.
There are several paintings hanging on the wall behind the desk where the president holds court. These include portraits of all 43 presidents who have served since the chamber was completed. In front of the desk is a statue of Thomas Jefferson on a horse. This sculpture was presented to the city of Washington by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1858.
Another interesting fact about the President's Room is that it was used as a hospital during the Civil War. The first patient was brought into the room on April 17, 1861.
The Yellow Oval Room is located on the second level of the White House. It is across the hall from the Blue Room and next to the Red Room. The walls of the yellow room are painted a bright eggshell white.
These are some of the things you should know about the Yellow Oval Room:
It was originally built as a ballroom for the White House in 1824.
In 1930, during the New Deal, it was remodeled by James F. Bowman and given its present appearance. The work included the installation of a woodburning stove designed by the architect, John McMaken.
McMaken was also responsible for designing the fireplace in the East Room. He used an intricate design with black and red marble and a cast iron grate.
After World War II, the room was again remodeled. This time by C. Y. (Charles) Fitzgerald and Company. They added a wall of glass that opened up to an exterior balcony. When they finished, there was no longer a need for a door between the ballroom and the rest of the second floor. However, since then, nobody has had the courage to change this.
The dining room is one of the mansion's most stunning chambers; it was created as part of the original building in 1734. The room has been renovated several times throughout the years. It was modified when Washington was gone commanding the Continental Army in 1775, under the supervision of his cousin, Lund Washington. After George Washington's death in 1799, the dining room was restored to its original condition by Theodore Jacobson, who also designed the White House kitchen. The restoration included replacing all the wood flooring with marble and adding a chandelier.
After the death of Martha Washington in 1802, President John Adams signed into law the bill that authorized the construction of this house for Thomas Jefferson. As part of his gift to Jefferson, Adams also provided money for the renovation of the White House. The dining room was among those renovated during this time. In 1857, the room was again redesigned by Michel Charles Louis Le Brun and Henry Dearborn; they replaced the Chippendale table with one by Thomas Johnson.
In 1863, after Lincoln's election as president, the dining room was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers. The next year, after the Battle of Gettysburg, the room was restored back to its original condition by Julius Friese. At this time, the ceiling was lowered to make more room for beds, and the wall paneling was taken down to make way for new linenfold paneling and paintings by Mathew Brady.