National Geographic : 1961 Jan
Inside the White House By LONNELLE AIKMAN National Geographic Staff GAINST VELVET NIGHT or sunny skies, the White House looks the way the home of the head of a great democracy ought to look-peaceful, unpretentious, and substantial. Its classic ten-pillared profile seems as serene and changeless as a painting by an old master. Yet change is the very essence of life in the President's House. Behind its 18th century walls, a new era is born with each administration. As one family moves out and another moves in, new personalities and policies take form in the public mind. Americans think of their White House as the embodiment of history, the home of leaders who shaped the Nation's destiny: Of Jefferson, who planned here the Louisi ana Purchase and the exploration of the West. Of Abraham Lincoln, putting aside the day's battle reports to romp in his study with his young son Tad. Of rough-riding, trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt, "strong as a bull moose" and keeping that way by practicing jujitsu in the august East Room. Of a broken Wilson, in his wheel chair on the south lawn, holding stubbornly to an ideal conceived too soon. And of another Roosevelt, broadcasting fire side chats of hope to a depression-bogged people-"My friends. .. ." Today's White House is still all this plus modern living and working facilities to Mantled by dusk, the White House exudes the warmth and graciousness of a home. Yet here abides history made by the Presi dents. All lived and worked here except George Washington, who selected the site. Altered, expanded, and twice rebuilt, the stately mansion stands ready for the new President and his family (page 4). EKTACHROMEBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHER B. ANTHONYSTEWART© N.G.S.