Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Small Key to a Big Piece of History

Howdy key lovers!

          Next week I will be going on an adventure to Washington DC!  In anticipation of my trip, and in celebration of our nation’s birthday next week, today’s key is from the capital city herself!  It is the key to the men’s restroom at the White House!

Key to the Men’s Room at the White House, donated by
Mark Luke Davis III.

          While somewhat comical, this key also holds great significance to our nation’s history.  In 1791, George Washington chose the site for the White House, and the cornerstone of the building was laid in 1792.  However, the original building was burned by the British during the War of 1812, and reconstruction began around the end of 1814.  In 1817, President Monroe was able to move into the new residence with his family, and a few additions were made to the building over the following ten years.  After Teddy Roosevelt took office, he chartered large scale renovations to the White House, including a move of the President’s Office from the second floor to what is now known as the West Wing.  Another important change was the construction of the Oval Office during President Taft’s administration.  In 1901, Teddy Roosevelt officially named the President’s home “The White House”.  In the early 1950s, it was discovered that the White House was suffering from serious structural issues.  The entire house was renovated during the Truman administration and everything except the outer walls was demolished and rebuilt.

Drawing of the White House in 1792 by James Hoban.

Reconstructed White House after it was burned during the
War of 1812 (photograph taken in 1901).

Martin Luther King and Lyndon B. Johnson meeting in the Oval Office
of the White House in 1963.

Ronald Reagan and Margret Thatcher meeting on the
White House lawn in 1987.

George W. Bush giving his Farewell Address from the East Room of the
White House in 2009.

          Today, the White House has 35 bathrooms…and we have the key to one of them!  I cannot wait to see this incredible portion of American history for myself next week; and as for you, come visit us at the Baldpate Key Room to see our little key to a big piece of history!

Blog written by:
Alicia Byers
Museum Curator, The Baldpate Inn