West Wing of the White House
In 1934, the Public Works Administration (PWA) funded the expansion of the White House West Wing, which houses the Executive Offices of the President of the United States.
The West Wing contains the Oval Office, Cabinet Room, Situation Room, and Roosevelt Room. The West Wing’s four floors also contain offices for the vice president, chief of staff, counselor to the president, the senior advisor to the president, the White House press secretary, and their support staffs.
There had been three expansions of the West Wing prior to the New Deal, in 1902, 1909 and 1929, but this one was the most thorough-going. When Franklin Roosevelt became president he was dissatisfied with the size of the executive offices, so he brought in New York architect Eric Gugler to redesign it and had the newly-created PWA fund it for $335,000. Construction was done by the John McShain and N.P. Severin companies.
The work was completed in a record one hundred days – fitting for a president whose first 100 days in office are still the touchstone for accomplishment by a new administration.
As can be seen in the photo below, the West Wing was gutted and rebuilt within the old shell. “To create additional space without increasing the apparent size of the building, Gugler excavated a full basement, added a set of subterranean offices under the adjacent lawn,[1 and built an unobtrusive “penthouse” story. A notable addition to the east side contains the Cabinet Room, Secretary’s Office, and Oval Office. The new office’s location gave presidents greater privacy, allowing them to slip back and forth between the White House and the West Wing without being in full view of the staff.” (wikipedia)
Expanding demand for office space over the years also spilled into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street, which was formerly the State, War and Navy building constructed under the administration of President Ullysses S. Grant.
The West Wing is still very much in use.
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National Archives Record Group 69-N
"New Executive Offices Ready At White House," Chicago Tribune, November 25, 1934.
Carl Brauer, The Man Who Built Washington: A Life of John McShain. Wilmington DE: Hagley Museum and Library, 1996
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on January 5, 2018.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.
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