tv American History TV CSPAN September 5, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
thomas law's elegant condemnation was not unique. everybody to whom i have spoken condemns them equally. the architect responded with a lengthy essay of how sentiments and abstract ideas are expressed on human faces, heard as human languages, written as records, and depicted in paintings and sculpture as signs and internal operation of the mind neither audible, visible, nor tangible. and this i'm quoting him now in extent. if then it is the intention of architectural writing to record events or to perpetuate sentiments, national customs, or private matters and it is admitted that such records are
worthy of the expense they may occasion, the consideration of the character in which the records shall be written and of the style is the only one before us. it may, indeed, be said that as good laws may be made in a wigwam as in the capital and that all decoration is useless and all history mere idle amusement. the senate by the constitution of our country represents not the majority of the people like the house of representatives but the individual states as corporate bodies. if their chamber is to be decorated at all, the decoration should have the character consistent with the character of the body for which it was built. their character as the assembly of the states is that which is most prominent. the practice of representing communities by female figures
hayes existed since the dawn of hit. an unknown statute without attributes is every where received the portrait of an individual. this then remains the only question, it is a question respecting the talents of the architect and of his sculptors. are the attributes intelligible. the chronological state of the agricultural and improvement of the states at the time of building the senate chamber furnish an exuberant choice strongly marking and distinguishing the states from one another. latrobe's other two american orders are associated with the senate chamber. he designed his magnolia flower order for dwarf columns on the visitor's gallery above the entrance to the first senate. he probably represented -- it probably represented america's arts and sciences. the magnolia was the first native american tree considered to be beautiful enough to be
planted at the royal botanical garden at kew gardens in london. he designed his first order, the tobacco leaf rotunda outside the entrance of the senate after the fire. tobacco was america's second largest export product after grain and latrobe probably intended the delicate flowers and broad leaves to represent american commerce, the nation's merchants. both latrobe's pre and post-firehouse chambers commanded his best architectural efforts. he finished his first house of representatives in 1807 designed in close collaboration with president jefferson. it was intended to be a unique room where the directly elected representatives of the modern world's first system of government by and for the people assembled.
the elliptical hippodrome footprint on his pre-fire chamber was predetermined. hallet had chosen the ancient hippodrome shape because of its associations with the seating at versailles. the french national assembly met there to hammer out a peaceful transition from monarchical to democratic government for america's principal ally during the revolution. the central podium surrounded by tiered seats proved to be good acoustically and visually for a large assembly being addressed by individual orators. washington had sanctioned hallet's design in 1793, so the shape itself remained. latrobe modified the elliptical shape to have semi circular ends
to be more in harmony with the pure geometry of the greeks but also because it was cheaper to build in stone than an oval one would have been. latrobe wanted -- jefferson wanted latrobe to build skylights over this unusual house chamber based on some used in paris which had long rectangles down to the base. after latrobe argued against the inherent problem of sky lights, leaks and much too much heat and light, the president opined, the house's sky lights would make it the chamber the handsomest room in the world without a single exception, in the world. during night sessions, for example, jefferson's house dome would have radiated light like a beacon. latrobe's modification was to
light the chamber via 100 sky lights set in rows alternating with rows of coppers here accurately and beautifully reconstructed digitally. this house chamber existed for seven years from 1807 until burned by the british in august 1814 yet no drawings nor paintings of it are known. there's not even a single description of how people reacted to it. mr. chenoweth has also visually recreate what had latrobe's first house would have been like had the architect not acquiesced to jefferson's desire for sky
lights. it would have been lit by a cupola flooding the chamber with a large mass of central light. jefferson and latrobe were at odds about the choice of the ancient architectural order for the house chamber. members of congress were elected directly by the people, and thus in jefferson's view its chamber was the capitol's most important room deserving of the stateliest of the classical orders. jefferson preferred the corinthian. perhaps his choice was not just their beauty but the fact that the brothers castor and pollux were the sons of zeus, helen of troy their sister. because it was part of rome's foundation, jefferson may well have considered their temple's order an appropriate link to america's founding era which was so steeped in the ideals of roman republicanism. at first latrobe favored roman doric columns for the house chamber, but his next choice was
the order of the winds -- order of the tower of the winds located in the roman forum on the athenian acropolis. by october 1804 he abandoned the tower's order in favor of a more elaborate greek one and by november 7 had convinced jefferson to accept the corinthian order which you see in the center. latrobe offered to marry this order together with the cornice of the temple of castor and pollux but jefferson preferred the roman medallion cornice used in american georgian architecture. latrobe justified this kind of synthesis because he believed
the greeks did not have the same rigid rules of the orders that vitruvius and his renaissance followers imposed on antiquity. the greeks knew of no such rules but having established general proportions in laws of form and arrangement, all matters and detail were left to the talent and taste of individual architects. the total destruction of the 100 skylight house left latrobe now free of jefferson's influence and he built his final house as a semi circular auditorium room. you recognize this as statuary hall but i just want to point out that along the diameter marked by the columns, those columns are standing on plinths that are about five feet tall because when this was in use as the house of representatives, the seating was canted as in the theater but once it became just a passway to the new house
chamber, then they had to have a flat roof -- a flat floor to walk across. colorful and monumental potomac columns framed the circumference and diameter of this semi circular auditorium room. the choice of the order might also have been because of the close association of all the monuments with the nature of greek theater which was song rather than recited. the house's auditorium form was descended from ancient theaters. an individual greek actor might have been considered and appropriate choice to be remembered in this chamber whose occupants were directly elected by individual americans. once corinthian was selected for
the house chamber, latrobe used the tower of winds order for the columns in both vestibules serving the house chamber. british 18th century scholars of greek architecture considered the towers orders as intermediate between ionic and corinthian and called it the attic order. the vestibule between the house and the capitol's central lip ÷ rotunda is a circular tempietto with columns. on the east side that you see looking up on the left are set between two sets of attic columns allowing visitors to look into this brightly lit adjacent space, the house's second vestibule. so the two vestibules are the upper vestibule behind those columns and then the floor level from which i am taking this
picture is the second vestibule. this was a double vestibule beginning at the ground level entrance to the house wing. more complex than the corresponding corn capitol vestibule in the senate wing. visitors to the house chamber entered at ground level, a rectangle the same size and shape as the corn capitol vestibule but light flooding the inner vestibule drew them into a two-story upended double cubed space. all of its upper walls were decorated with two free-standing tower of the winds columns. those on three sides stood in front of walls except those facing the tempietto vestibule's window. from the ground floor vestibule one looked up diagonally through the windows into the dome of a circular vestibule outside the house chamber. cupolas lighting both of these house vestibules admitted abundant light and concentrated
light in this vertical space. the unity of light latrobe so favored. both are intact but are under the skirting of the cast iron dome erected in the 1850s. but how to ascend to the house chamber? no immediately apparent staircase was in the double cube inner vestibule. rather, it was enclosed in its south wall. an ill lit flight of stairs that ended at the entrance to the house. those who claimed the staircase emerged from dimness into brilliant light from two directions, the house chamber's cupola and those of its vestibules. latrobe was employing his version of architecture which
speaks, the late 18th century french architectural theater which eschewed decoration to convey meaning in favor of relying on the functions associated with architectural forms itself. for latrobe it was light that was speaking as those entombed in the stair's darkness -- the darkness representing monarchical forms of government rose gradually to the light of x democracy. jefferson and latrobe meant the physical light flooding the house chamber and its vestibules to represent the enlightenment ideal of liberty as the new civic religion. the correction between light and
liberty was common in the colonies where enlightenment ideals of liberty and religious tolerance were linked. in 1795 jefferson wrote, light and liberty go together. his most succinct commentary. but on july 12th, 1812, he wrote latrobe that the capitol was the first temple to be dedicated to the sovereignty of the people. to jefferson's written words we must add his intention to light the house chamber as a kind of light house pinpointing the location of america's representative form of government. latrobe understood jefferson's covert meaning for the house but reversed the flow of light to flow downward to enlighten the deliberations of congressmen. neither latrobe nor jefferson left a known paper trail discussing the hidden meanings that raise the house of representatives to the pinnacle of what the american revolution had achieved, the truth is in
their work. the house's magnificent entrance sequence survived the fire to serve latrobe's second house chamber but was ruined when in the early 1820s congressmen demanded an open staircase were stalled. today one ascends to the house within what was once light and air. latrobe used sculpture to express overt messages. the tradition of a figure of american liberty behind the speaker's chair dates from federal hall in new york and congress hall in philadelphia. the 1792 terra cotta minerva as the patroness of american liberty who wears a helmet decorated with an eagle and a breast plate decorated with the liberty pike and cap was installed in congress hall but it might have been the one planned for federal hall in new york. minerva was the roman equivalent of the greek athena. for latrobe's first house chamber, there was modeled a seated figure of liberty above the speaker's chair. its appearance reconstructed by chenoweth in two images here based on latrobe's description.
by her side stands the american eagle supporting her left hand in which is the cap of liberty. her right presents a scroll, the constitution of the united states, her foot treads upon a reversed crown on -- as a footstool and upon other emblems of monarchy and bondage. franzoni also carved a spread winged eagle in the entrance. its wings spread 12 feet, 6 inches in breadth. four relief panels opposite the eagle were personifications representing agriculture, art, science and commerce. all were ruined in the fire but some vague outlines of horizontally oriented figures are discernible on latrobe's 1815 sketch of the burnt
colonnade. they suggest latrobe designed these based on the tower winds. when latrobe planned the sculpture for the second house chamber, he resurrected his 1810 athena liberty. franzoni made him enlarged in plaster and placed above the speaker's chamber. latrobe's final figure of liberty holds the unfurled constitution in her hand. the conceit being the constitution protects congress. on her left, a rattlesnake, an american emblem since 1754 is holding together the insignia of ancient roman senators adopted as an emblem of national union in america's revolutionary era. this group looks across the house chamber toward the chariot of history block. cleo, the muse of history, recorded american events as they occurred. she rides in a vehicle propelled by eagle wings, aka, propelled
by the house of representatives. the chariot's front decorated by a portrait of washington. the chariot sits astride a globe encircled by a band inscribed with signs of the zodiac. the 12 constellations that traditionally represent the universe from earth's northern hemisphere. the presence of the zodiac has been noted by others but not explained within the context of american history. a congressional resolution on june 14th, 1777, authorized the design of the flag of the united states. 13 red and white stripes were its major identifying elements, but the resolution concluded that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. both the designer of the american flag and latrobe
conceived of the historical importance of america's governing system as extraterrestrial. the great library in alexandria egypt inspired latrobe's choice of the architectural look. it was inspired in 1812. a u-shaped room across from the senate chamber but sunken five feet to accommodate one full and two half stories. its central reading room overlooked by galleries of book stacks. eight elaborately carved egyptian revival column shafts and capitals carried the section of the lower gallery around the room's semicircular end. plainer dwarf egyptian columns
overlooked the reading room from the upper gallery. during the second campaign, latrobe relocated the library to the front of the capitol's new west wing overlooking the mall. now a simple elongated two-story rectangle, latrobe's second library of congress retained its egyptian decoration. some of the new group of european trained sculptors seemed to have carved egyptian columns in capitals for this second library. the shapes of their bases were v egyptian inspired and some of their capitals such as you see here combined egyptian lotus flowers, greek anthemia and american tobacco leaves. they were recycled as fireplace surrounds when latrobe's successor charles bullfinch designed his version of the library of congress. in may 1816, samuel lane, a
disabled veteran of the war of 1812 was appointed commissioner of public buildings with authority over latrobe. from the outset, la -- lang was antithetical to latrobe and his designs. the warfare between the two becoming so hateful that latrobe resigned in november 1817, leaving most of what he had designed unbuilt, surely a wrenching experience for him. latrobe -- bullfinch built latrobe's design for the crypt. the carvings probably already carved. designed the rotunda above according to his own tastes. after lane died unexpectedly in april 1822, a review of his accounts revealed he had embezzled $25,000 from the capital's accounts. seemingly lane's demeaning
treatment of latrobe that had driven him from his position was designed to force him to quit in order to prevent the architect from discovering this defalcation. the evolution of latrobe's work during his two tenures at the capital was to record america's founding history within the context of the common culture of euro-american inhabitants. in the early 1810s he knew the great cycle of revolutionary war paintings realistically depicting its greatest military and civic events would decorate the walls of the grand vestibule as latrobe called the rotunda. had latrobe completed the capitol it would have been a different work of architecture than the one designs by charles bullfinch, an adherent of roman inspired classical. bullfinch chose painting and sculpture that turned back to
columbus and the continent's other explorers and the history of early settlers as more meaningful to americans of the 1820s to be in their capitol than latrobe's and to most people, opaque coupling of greek and american democracy. thank you very much. i'm happy to answer anything i'm able to. patrick is coming. faithful patrick. >> so latrobe when he's working on these buildings, does he appear as just an architect or does he have anything to do with trying to execute the l'enfant plan for the entire city? >> he has nothing to do with
trying to execute during this period the l'enfant plan, other than his work on the canals, but that basically precedes -- well, it precedes the post-war work. he was involved in many things. in fact, when he is appointed architect to rebuild the capital, he's very disappointed he's not appointed to do the white house as well. he thought he should be. he thought that both buildings should be built the same ethos in mind. he was your standard genius in that he wrote the dedicatory song for the dedication of st. john's church which he built. he did build that, contemporaneous to his work here. he is the designer of the old
brick capitol and an interesting point about these two buildings, concerning what we heard just before lunch is that it was capitol hill residents who bound together and raised the money and paid latrobe to design and build the brick capitol. it was lafayette square residence who hired latrobe to build st. john's church as a much more expensive church than they could ever have built normally. in both cases, their intention was to convince congress they were here to stay. so there is a continuity throughout all of what we've heard about how the city responded to this event that happened to him so quickly and was over so fast but had lingering effects. don. >> the last image you showed of
the section through the rotunda, the images have all been a little extended sideways. is it still a semicircular or a spherical shape? >> it is a circular shape. what is disquieting about this is that it's number two on the bottom, which implies not only number one but maybe number three. and this design is not exactly what bullfinch then went on to carry out in the rotunda, but it is the only surviving drawing that they have showing it. but you see the difference, this was a cylindrical drum, but latrobe on the right broke that circle up with four circular pieces, which contain staircases that curve down and went down to the crypt because in the first design and then again in 1815, he retains that because it was -- many people still held out the hope that the washington family would allow george
washington's remains to be built to be installed in the crypt at the capitol. so latrobe had accounted for that in his design for the rotunda. thank you very much. >> thank you. our next speaker will be william seale. throughout the years we have encounter a handful of friends that struggle with mental i illness illnesses. throughout the years we have seen how a lack of treatment can
result in stress. >> my name is felix and i was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. i ended up in the hospital after an episode. they diagnosed me there after five minutes of talking to me and treated me for two weeks. i got out of the hospital and went from doctor to doctor looking for someone who would listen. it took me over a year to find a doctor who did listen. >> we strongly encourage congress to continue to provide funding for those who struggle with a illness and continue to allocate resources and develop new programs for those in need. >> join us next wednesday during washington journal for the theme of the 2015 c-span student cam
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in this next part of the war of 1812 symposium, historian williamo8&@seale joins us. this is an hour. >> thank you. our next speaker will be william seale. and to us at the association, he doesn't really need much introduction. he's been a part of our organization as an adviser to our board for at least as the time he published his president's house in 1986.
he's been a mentor to us on the staff with research education, publication. over all those many years and now is the editor of our white house history publication that you all received a complementary copy in your packets. i hope you'll enjoy that and hopefully become a subscriber to our journal and keeping up with the latest research. of course, william seale is an architectural historian and specialist an the restoration and preservation of historic buildings. his handiwork is all over the country in executive mansions and capitols. he's also, of course, published the president's house, i just mentioned, which is like the, to us, the bible of white house history. the white house garden, the white house -- the white house, the history of an american idea, which is really the architectural history of the house that he has written. he's also collaborated with
artists. peter waddell on an artist je7m visits the white house past which is a wonderful little booklet that is available. booklet that is available. he will be available tonight at -- in our gift shop and you'll be allowed in early to be able to have a copy signed if you'd like to do that at 5:45. the title is "the night they burned the white house." so we -- and also he's contributed many other publications, including our art historic guide book. with that i'd like you to give a warm welcome to william seale. [ applause ] >> do i need that on? hello. it's good to be here. i look forward to it and have enjoyed what i've been able to -- >> oh, i do. i have to have a microphone. machinery. i am going to talk about the
symbol of the white house, the survival of it through time. and can everyone hear now? i mean, everyone that wants to. a monument you see, a symbol you feel, rather basic, but if this is a -- if this simple description satisfies purposes, i'll let it sit. it can be said that the white house began as a monument and was a symbol of the american presidency by its final completion in the 1830s. this was unlike the national capitol which had 30 years to go when the great dome completed during the civil war became the symbol of the union. the white house was conceived and born entirely at the behest of president washington. it was part of his unique conception of the washington city's future as a world class capital, representing also his idea of the tone the usa would present to other countries. when the tree cutting and street clearing began in the early 1790s for the city, washington's vision for the future was at its peak and the curious french engineer peter charles l'enfant had the president's ear. he had drawn a very ambitious
plan and it seems was heard on every matter involving the project. l'enfant never surrendered his dream for the city and that's the work that washington supported a lot of it. the basic plan. the president who held greater power than any to come for a century after him nevertheless had realities to consider, no matter his authority over the constitution -- under the constitution. washington's efforts to illustrate this booming nation and great presidency waned over the decade of the 1790s. his idea of world participation shrank as he watched the revolutionary age of which he was part, really, turn in europe to mind this bloodshed. as he saw the collapse of apparently stable governments he came to believe that america must not attach itself to in any
but the most basic economic involvements with europe. he saw america rise during his administration, close to being second in rank among mercantile countries of europe. the proposed plans of l'enfant still pleased him but he allowed many changes to what l'enfant called the palace. the white house was the most urgent feature of the master plan because it seemed that the most -- it was most nearly possible for completion on time. the year 1800 when congress specified the city be occupied by the government. what l'enfant had called the palace was already under way when the engineer departed in early 1972. he didn't know much about politics, and he lost his job. or he left. stone from old sandstone quarries had been pulled and drawn on its rafts up river to the edge of the strong -- in the edge of the strong current. laborers black and white doug the cellars under l'enfant's direction. however, when l'enfant departed,
so much of what he had designed seems to have been, as jefferson put it in his head, that the volunteer commissioners charged with building the city complained about some of the ideas. the president's house they decided was too big. they would run out of freestone before it was finished. washington listened and as a practical man agreed to advertise for designs for a smaller house. but he paid little attention to the entries apparently in the competition and selected his own man, james hoban, an irish-born architect trained, really a practical builder. he met him in charleston. one thing the president liked about hoban, apart from his skill was he owned many lands of his own. so hoban was on the president's level of thinking. hoban, one good politician, unlike l'enfant, seems to have realized that president washington was looking for assurance and gave him a model. a plan based upon the dublin residence of the anglo irish duke of leinster, ireland's first gentleman.
obviously knowing who the duke was, nobles were celebrities after all. and about his brother, the duke's brother known to history as the heroic lord edward whose earlier adventures included service with the british at the battle of king's mountain and a comfortable tenure as a prisoner of war and washington's cousin's residence in charleston. president washington accepted the whole irish idea it seems with a plan. the commissioners in charge begged him to reduce the house even more. he agreed to reduce it vertically to two stories from three. built over a partially exposed basement..3eñ but at the same time, he increased it that much horizontally. and he ordered stone carving on the exterior as it was to be the richest and finest in america. although very archaic in design at the time. the white house was built in this way. it was late autumn, 1793. walking in a huge cellar that
had been dug, president washington himself drove the stakes locating the north door on the -- in the center where it is now and situating the smaller house. this is the white house we know today. the symbol of the american presidency, the world over. president washington saw his house built but even as he, retiring from office sensed further changing of presidential power, his successor john adams, the first to live in the white house, was even further surrounded by conflicting ideas of government. he didn't like the white house. preferring a row house closer to the capitol but he yielded. the symbol at last went to work if not quite with resplendor as envisioned, at levees, adam stood there beneath the great picture that bill altman told us about washington. old and toothless in his black velvet diplomatic uniform. and puffing his pipe. he was not presidential like his predecessor. thomas jefferson liked to call
his election a revolution. a win is a win but hardly a revolution. jefferson cast over at his republican simplicity and not wishing to asking congress for money respecting washington's house he made few notable changes other than the wings to the sides that gave it a sort of a dish to sit upon. the destruction of the white house by fire in august of 1814 was a low point in the american war of 1812 as president madison's butler was poking around in the ruins to rescue what he could. notably, the kitchen stove. andrew jackson's miraculous victory arrived in washington by horse back messenger, young hampton ii. victory had come on the banks of
the very american river that they held in such importance. for all its strategic questions, to americans, the west had won the war against england. that was the big show piece. madison ordered the public buildings repaired, an odd word to use and summoned them to the white house to rebuild what he had built for washington. exactly as it had been. and in doing this, madison clearly acknowledged the important identity of the house. thinking it a matter of urgency to restore it to what it had been. the white house, as it was already called by that time, about 1803, so it had been that for a while, achieved its restoration in its restoration, even clearer, more complex. yet the press and individuals began to write about the house
madison's successor james monroe moved into the house late in 1817. on new year's day 1818, the world was invited to see the house. even the crew that had worked on it were given crackers and beer in the basement. they never had imagined it before. many, many came. when it looked exactly the same outside except for unfinished boarded up openings in the roof to allow for porticos that were planned. the interior was princely and regal. in effect, washington would have disapproved and jefferson abhorred. gold leaf french furniture, chandeliers, great mirrors and sumptuous upholsteries. it was a palatial symbol of the head of state. monroe's administration opened in the bright glow of what that time was called the era of good feelings. war was over. americans were in control. the british were gone and prosperity seemed everywhere. americans exploding ambitions it
turned now to enterprise. the president believed that the cancer of rival political parties was over. well, the idea that the era of good feelings is spoken many ways is best exemplified to me in a plaster wall mural taken from a tavern in new england by -- painted by rufus porter, the distinguished muralist that some people would say folk fur muralist. copying from an engraving made by his childhood friend george catlin. it's a poignant expression to kindle feelings of everyday folk after the war. it shows the rebuilt white housi backed by gigantic rising sun with rays proclaiming new beginnings. happily, the painting, which had been cut from the wall, when identified, was purchased for the -- by the white house historical association about 20 years ago. so it's safely in bill's collection. monroe proceeded, commissioning
hoban to add a south semicircular porch called a south portico. though it's not a portico. it can be said with accuracy -nt that his various uses of the house, president monroe established the white house as a national symbol of the presidency for all time. after him, the tone of the appearance of the white house was for every president important consideration. the symbolic house was central )uáh&egend embraced andrew jackson at his inauguration. the inaugural dignity of the past was over. thousands swarmed on washington, many hoping for government jobs and contracts from the people's president. their march home with him from the capital started the tradition of the inaugural parade. thousands of merrymakers accompanied the frail, sickly jackson who rode a horse down opinion pen avenue and his crowd did not stop as usual as the shops and taverns but went directly into the white house.
nor did the flow stop at the tall mahogany doors. overnight americans adopted the story of unruly crowds entering the house after jackson's inauguration and in their celebration tearing it up. i think the actual problem was that the people who entered were of all classes and that had never -- and they had never been comfortable going there before. many would never have dared to enter the house. poor man was practically crushed by the rolling tide of people and was literally picked up and carried out the south portico to the hotel.jú!!÷ to thin the crowds which had no intention of leaving, the steward put wash tubs of whiskey and orange juice on the lawn. it was immortalized in a cartoon by the famous british cartoonist george krushak.
as for the legend that monroe's beautiful rooms were torn up, our national archives and the great thoroughness of its domestic records of the white house assures us the white house had no expenditures for damages or anything else that occurred that day. the house ways and means committee anticipated the glorious coming of jackson. money was appropriated to build the portico on the north, the column familiar to us today. hoban built it and finished only a year before his death as he had the one on the south. it was essentially his house. the image was complete and the image became familiar to the world. jackson's political backers themselves made some improvements to feature a new occupant of the symbolic house. they commissioned ralph e.w. earl, a jackson in-law and friend to paint a heroic image of new orleans and hung it in the big entrance hall. you saw it before you saw washington when you went on tour. that was open from 1801 on
tours. now the public had something rather pointed and needed to see and there was more. the east room remained undecorated, although hoban completed the ornate architectural shell. a great assembly room of the house. the stage where jackson would now appear at receptions and public open houses. furniture warehouses in philadelphia were called in to finish the mighty 85-foot space, enormous mirrors, chandeliers are and window hangings. together with 21 spittoons to make the east room as grand as they thought versailles must certainly have been. in addition, stars made of papier-mache and gilded were puh over the arch door from the hall through which jackson entered during his receptions, symbolically framing the hero. to cover his thin frame, jackson wrapped himself in a full blew
great coat extending nearly to the floor. the high blue collar framed his white hair which flew back from his face like wind swept snow. the marine band played a lively march just in case anyone present had missed the fact that the president was entering. how much more presidential could it be? jackson, like madison before the fire and monroe after it embellished the white house to amplify his presence.rnf railroads came to washington in his time. hotels became numerous in the town had many visitors on business. political business, mostly. this trend would continue through time calling for a different requirement to suit different political circumstances and philosophical ideas. the white house never lost its association with president washington, but moved beyond that, gaining greater fame and respect and legend when madison pulled it back from ruin and monroe emphasized it with his grandeur. as time passed, the building's
symbolism gained a less abstract presence and more substance through the lives of those who lived there by the succession of presidents. each with his own story, each with his own achievements and occasionally failures. it was increasingly seen that a president lived his life as president entirely in that symbolic place. and became a part of his history, as well as that of the house. all presidents that have to ask themselves what do i do about the white house? even doing nothing to it is subject to interpretation. and several early presidents had faced that. presidents antebellum addressed the problem from van buren to buchanan. they held weekly dinners with representatives always careful in their selection of guests from the power circles in congress. in james buchanan's time, they were cursing each other across the dinner table.
he had to invite people of pro or antisentiments. he had to be very careful in that sense. the music scholar elise kirk who is one of us at the association, provides a history of frequent musical performance at the white house performances to draw people. in support of the lively house paper hangers, drapers, upholsterers worked continually behind the scenes. their invoices at the archives n suggest the place was in a state of constant improvement. constant patching might better describe it. for congress contributed little to the decor and does not today. symbolism was at every turn inserted into the larger symbol, the house, to personalize it. jefferson set up in the entrance hall to display artifacts from
the various western expeditions. he even housed two grizzly bears from the rocky mountains in an enclosure on the driveway outside. a great show was made by adams and monroe of the visits of general lafayette. andrew jackson's portrait was a more pronounced symbol, maybe more a monument. powers, later the famous vermont sculptor of the greek slave and other works displayed his clay bust of andrew jackson sculpted from life in the entrance hall before he journeyed to italy forever.y:r@ñ to have it carved into marble. to identify himself with jefferson, the expansionist, president james k. polk who through the war with mexico pushed the nation's western boundary to the pacific, he had david danjier's full length marble of thomas jefferson moved and set up on the north lawn in the middle of about where jefferson kept the bears. his wife sarah had called it home sally. sarah had symbolic ideas, too. she was one tough first lady. about her jimmy, as she called him, his greatness. she hung a large portrait of the
conquistador over the mantle in the blue room. you can see the jefferson statue today. in the statuary hall. jefferson's was not the only one with live entertainment. zachary taylor displayed his famous mexican war horse old whitey on the lawn where he grazed in peacetime comfort. the delighted public to whom whitey was well known in prince and other things and a hero, hugged him and petted him and took hairs from his tail until in the president's funeral procession, whitey had no tail left. for all the self-promotion undertaken by the president's antebellum, little about the white house itself should be included in such sessions -- such recollections.
it was not the presidents of this period who would enhance forever the house as a symbol. it was only one of them, abraham lincoln. in lincoln's time it was the house 60 years old. had been rebuilt, modernized but still old. its cold water lavatories, into which the potomac water flowed unscreened leaked and gave a sulfur smell. water in the three toilets, water closets, rose and spilled when it rained hard. the rooms were huge. except for the state floor where very sparsely furnished. it was kind of hard living. odds and ends, except for the state bedroom which mrs. lincoln refurnished and named the prince of wales room for its only celebrated guest. yet lincoln's white house is more powerful in memory than any other. even washington. of course, he never lived there. it comes to us like a stage production with its characters,
its ups, downs, few joys, amazing triumphs, many tragedies and sudden -- sad end. lincoln seems to have had no particular interest in the white house but respected its history. two times he referred to it as this damned old house, revealing it was an expensive headache. and then this big white house once when he expressed his respect for it among some young soldiers, symbolically as a house to which in american might appear to live. it was lincoln's residency there that intensified the symbolic house and gave it power it had never had before that protected it from the ambitious and indelible victorians who followed. actually, i think there might be no white house today symbol or not in lincoln's melodrama had not played out there. building experts lay in wait. the corps of army engineers suddenly eager to please the president with a new house
stepped forth as the enemy of the whole white house and they would carry that great honor for the next half century. not only two years -- two years after lincoln's death, his successor andrew johnson approved a corps plan for building a villa-style house out for the president in rock creek park. there were so many reasons why to do it. this proposal of the corps which had a -- which had a long time interest in saving rock creek park's woods and streams from commercial advance, gave them a lift into the president's and the president's approval. the scheme was very much current when president ulysses s. grant took office but he cast it out immediately saying that he wanted to live in lincoln's house. the traditional home of the presidents. this is the first time this really appears under general grant. he wasn't as dumb as people say. president hayes and garfield lived in the white house and saw
it was historic, thought it was historic and symbolic. both consulted the library of congress on what they could do to make it look more historical. the most that came from this was hayes' ordering a portrait of martha washington painted by e.f. andrews to hang as a mate to gilbert stewart's and it remains with washington's today in the east room. the painter used martha washington's head, a woman well beyond middle age, as depicted by stewart, but the body of the president's 18-year-old niece emily was the one used. dream on. president hayes also demolished president grant's billiard room, lest the public see such a symbol of wickedness. it was not an act that was likely to occur with vigorous garfield who one of the first things he did in the white house was search out all the storage cellars for the whiskey that president hayes had hidden.
garfield was assassinated in the summer of 1881. the vice president chester a. arthur as president and successor was left with finishing the job. he hated the house, thinking it old fashioned, that it misrepresented the high position of the presidency. he tried to have it demolished, first. then added on to and the corps provided him with a design for a large wing on the south and the popular richardsonian romanesque mode. opposition to this was the first time public rejection and newspaper mockery flew in anger and to angry defiance at the changing white house. so president arthur dropped the plan and had louis comfort tiffany carry out this work. it was in this work that tiffany introduced to the white house
and lost elements, the tiffany glass screen which apparently ended up in maryland in a hotel and it burned. but people loved it. it was in murky colors of red, white and blue. and it had always been a screen there, but -- the army corps of engineers failed in an effort to greatly expand the house again in 1889 to celebrate george washington's inauguration. there's always a hook. in 1899, the corps had its foot in the door, it thought, but lost miserably in the attempt. mckinley said, okay, maybe. mrs. mckinley said there will be no hammering while i live hire. and that pretty much did it.áb;r september 1901 brought the president -- brought to the presidency the vice president c theodore roosevelt just as a group of private architects had dethroned the army corps of engineers and set about creating a master plan for the city of washington.
they named their plan for their patron in the senate senator james mcmillan of michigan. charles mckim, one of the country's best architects and major player in wanting to redesign washington, all the architects got together at the american institute of architects. he realized politically to make the whole plan work, its supporters needed full presidential support. he learned that the roosevelts loved the old house. he loved -- all roosevelts love old houses and loved antiques. he loved that they wanted the historic white house and they wanted to live there.á0!ñ it was inevitable to be central e mckim spun a web and wrapped the youthful president like a hero's cloak in all the prestige of the past. it was all to be a world image we now have been -- were an international nation.
had changed and mckim restored the exterior but the interior which was the same house, but iñ was decorated in a more european way embassies were, with the french furniture and all. yet mckim's touch preserved the white house, bringing it into a mckimúxbl+%euu$e exterior " d plan and the plan of the white house as people knew it. he tore off additions people loved, the conservatory. but he didn't want it. building new wings to the side. one is a new entrance, the other as new offices known today as the west wing. there were bathrooms, coat rooms, storage rooms and modern nickel plated kitchen and all the accommodations needed in a house of state. as well as office space. yet it still felt like the white house.