print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
 Home > History & Tours > Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Recent Discovery Photos

Minton tiles Evidence of missing wall Decorative tile
Old documents Piece of old document Piece of old document
EEOB Room 232A tile in NW corner A fancy wall finish from 1888, and decorated with palm leaves, was found under peeling paint in a first floor office originally for War Department staff Evidence of the standard office wall finishes from 1888 was found under peeling paint in a third floor office originally for War Department staff.
The signature of James Thomas Howle from Washington, DC was found in a third floor office when a section of the 1888 chair rail was recently removed. To the left of Howle's signature is another unclear signature ("...r. addy"), but was made by a New York carpenter. Removing the chair rail in a third floor office peeled the adjacent paint revealing a section of red paint treated to look like red marble in 1888.

The EEOB has been next to the White House for nearly 130 years. It holds an important place in both the city's and nation's architectural, political, and popular history. However, much of the buildings history has been forgotten over time, and in some cases has become hidden from us. During construction or renovation projects, the history of former occupants and former decorative finishes are discovered.

For example, during the current modernization project underway on the west side of the EEOB, original tile finishes installed in 1888 when the building was built were discovered. The title was found on the floor and walls surrounding the former Secretary of War's private bathroom, used between 1888 and 1938.

Original documents are often found hidden in the walls too. While opening a chase in the wall at the fourth floor, a hidden stash of nearly 100 original documents were uncovered. The oldest document dates from 1913. The most recent document dates from the 1940s. Together these documents are a tangible link to a variety of work completed by staff of the Departments of War and State that occupied the offices of the West side of the building.

Sometimes evidence of the work is mundane, such as lists of War Department vacancies, simple arithmetic, or sheets of paper showing the staff practicing their penmanship, or testing new ink pens. Other finds were much more exciting.

Several documents were uncovered that talk about political concerns in Bolivia, and one document refers to a revolution being plotted in that country. Research into the various names mentioned in the document, indicates that the revolution did not occur, because several of the persons named are mentioned in the Washington Post a couple of years later making the social circuit around town.

Return to the EEOB Tour