This content is part of a series.
Jesus Loves Me? (4 of 4)
Series: Desperate Women
OPEN: In 1948, Harry Truman authorized an expenditure of $10,000 to have a balcony installed on the south side of the second floor of the White House. He'd barely gotten around to enjoying it when he became the first president since James Madison to evacuate the White House out of fear for his life.
"Found the White House 'falling down,'" he wrote in his diary. "My daughter's sitting room floor had broken down into the family dining room."
Truman had lived in the White House long enough to know that it wasn't in the best of shape - the floor in the upstairs study swayed and creaked when he walked across it, and the chandelier in the Blue Room swung back and forth for no reason. But he was astonished at the what structural engineers told him:
The beams that held the building up had been cut into so many times, and were carrying so much more weight than they had been designed to carry, that they had begun to split under the strain.
The entire building was on the verge of collapse. The family quarters on the second floor were in such bad shape that they were being held up "purely by habit".
Truman had 3 choices:
1. Move away and have the White House designated a museum
2. Tear the White House down and build a replica in its place;
3. Save the exterior walls, tear down everything else, and replace it with an exact replica of the original interior.
Truman chose the third option and moved across the street to Blair House, normally the government's guest house for visiting heads of state. According to Kenneth Leish:
"Mantelpieces, wall paneling, fixtures, moldings - all taken apart and stored for later reinstallation. Then the whole interior was demolished and steel beams were erected to support the new interior. The entire structure was fireproofed and air-conditioned and the outer walls were shored up. It took four years and more the $5 million…"(Uncle John's Great Big Bat ...
There are 14765 characters in the full content. This excerpt only shows a 2000 character sample of the full content.