National Geographic : 1961 Jan
The curtain rises as the red-coated Marine Band-which has played at White House func tions since 1801--assembles in the marble entrance hall.* As guests stream into the main corridor, the President's military aides channel traffic by rank (page 5). Suddenly, a hush. Aides snap to attention, and the band swings into "Hail to the Chief." Down the grand stairway marches a two-man color guard, carrying the Presidential and United States flags. Behind them, in time to the music, step the President and First Lady, followed by Cabinet members and their wives. It is a royal scene-paradoxically the more moving as a symbol of an office to which all those born in the United States may aspire. Reception guests follow a traditional course from the East Room, through Green, Blue, and Red Rooms, to the huge State Dining Room. On their way they greet the President and his wife, standing in the Blue Room. Visitors on guided public tours (Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. until noon) take this same path-in only ten minutes, and mi nus the greeting and refreshments (page 9). Even so, the perceptive tourist, undis tracted by social chitchat, may get a deeper * See "The President's Music Men," by Stuart E. Jones, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, December, 1959. KODACHROMES BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHER THOMAS NEBBIA ) N.G.S Monroe Room Saw Three Presidents Grapple With Wartime Decisions President Lincoln, his Cabinet, and Gen. Winfield Scott discuss strategy. The Washington Monu ment, a stub in the Civil War (left), looms be yond a window, as the finished needle does above. During the Spanish-American War, President McKinley worked here far into the night, reading dispatches that told of deaths caused by graft and mismanagement. "The anger and disgust and sorrow that they brought him made his face gray," wrote McKinley's mail clerk. Just after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt and Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill studied maps hung on these walls. Gilt-framed mirror reflects the portraits of James Monroe and his wife Elizabeth, who gave teas here. The room was named for the Monroes after Mrs. Herbert Hoover installed copies of their furniture. The sofa, an original, was acquired during the Eisenhowers' tenancy.