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Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Construction Chronology & Historical Events for the EEOB1
1796 President George Washington selects sites flanking the White House as location for Executive Offices. Designs approved on his last day in office. Construction delayed due to lack of funds.
1798 Executive Office location moved closer to the Capitol. Former President Washington protests and successfully lobbies for the original site. Construction begins on Treasury Department southeast of White House.
1799 Construction begins on War Department building southwest of White House to also house the Navy and State Departments.
1814 Executive office buildings and White House burned by British troops, but later reconstructed with additional floors. Two buildings added north of the original two. State Department in the northeast building. Treasury Department in rebuilt southeast building. War Department in the northwest building. Navy Department in the southwest building.
1833 Treasury Department burns in a fire; Robert Mills hired to design a "fireproof" building.
1836 Construction begins for new Treasury Department.
1838-42 Mills prepares several proposals to combine War and Navy buildings into a single large executive office building equal in size to the Treasury building.
1852 Thomas U. Walter proposes a single executive office building west of White House equal in size to his design for Treasury building extension.
1866 Alfred B. Mullett appointed Supervising Architect of the Treasury (SAOT).

Old State Department building demolished to build Treasury building extension. State Department moves to a former orphanage building at S and 14th Streets, NW.
1869 Commission formed to recommend a site for combined State, War, and Navy Building and to procure designs and cost estimates. Mullett prepares sketch for a building at McPherson Square in the French Second Empire style, which was appreciated by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish and his staff. General Sherman lobbies to replace the old War and Navy Buildings with a single structure housing the State, War, and Navy Departments.
1870 In January, Commission recommends demolition of old buildings and construction of a single building "similar in ground plan and dimensions to the Treasury Building, in the French style." Mullett’s plans approved in April.
1871 President Grant approves recommendation and Congress provides initial $500,000 appropriation. Ground broken for south wing (State Department).
1872 First granite stone for south wing is laid. Ground broken for east wing (Navy Department).
1873 First granite stone for east wing is laid. Richard von Ezdorf begins working for the SAOT.
1874 Mullett resigns as SAOT.
1875 Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State under President Grant, moves into south wing with his staff of 54. William Potter becomes SAOT, followed three months later by Orville Babcock.
1876 State Department Library finished.
1877 Last granite stone is set in east wing. Thomas Lincoln Casey becomes SAOT and oversees completion of the construction for the State, War, and Navy Department wings.
1879 East wing completed and ready for occupancy. War and Navy move in. Demolition of old War Department building. Ground broken for north wing on site of old War Department building. First telephone and telegraph lines available for State and Navy Departments.
1881 Last granite stone of north wing is laid.
1882 Congress assigns the fourth story and attic, except for the Library, of the south wing to the War Department and directs that partition walls between the south and east wings be removed. North wing ready for occupancy.
1883 War Department moves into north wing from the east wing.
1884 Ground broken for west and center wings (War Department). First granite stone for west wing is laid. North wing completed. Demolition of old Navy Department building. Conference establishing International Dateline and Greenwich Mean Time held in State Department.
1886 Last granite stones in west and center wings are laid.
1888 West and center wings completed. War Department moves into west wing. Building known as State, War, and Navy Building (SWN).
c. 1890 First light bulb used in the south wing in the State Department Diplomatic Reception Room.
1893 First electric lights installed in the corridors.
1897 Theodore Roosevelt appointed Assistant Secretary of Navy, under John D. Long, and he occupies room 278.
1898 In room 208, Secretary of State John Hay hands the Spanish Ambassador his passport and credentials, thus signifying United States declaration of war against Spain.
1899 Considering it a threat to employment, the building’s cleaning women stage a successful strike against the Superintendent’s plan to use a mechanical scrubber (roughly a bicycle with two rotary brushes) which enabled 2 or 3 women to do the work of 8 to 12.
1900-02 Telephone service available for entire building.
1902 In preparation for White House renovations, McKim, Mead and White designs "temporary" Executive Office Building west of the White House; Built in six months, it becomes known as the West Wing.
1910 Claude Graham-White, pioneer aviator, performs exhibition flight over Washington and lands on West Executive Avenue between SWN and the West Wing of the White House.
1911 Ice-making plant installed in north court.
1912 New inter-office phone system installed.
1913 Josephus Daniels appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Woodrow Wilson; remains through second term to lead the Navy through World War I with Franklin D. Roosevelt as his Assistant Secretary.
1914-15 Gas system removed and first electric system installed throughout the building. All building interiors repainted.
1915-16 Original plumbing pipes and toilet fixtures replaced.
1918 Navy Department vacates SWN, but Secretary of Navy and Navy Library remains until 1921.
1920 Electric elevators replace hydraulic elevators.
1921 General John Pershing holds office in room 274 as Army Chief of Staff until 1925. Pershing remains in room 274 as Chairman of the Battle Monuments Commission until 1947.
1924 The "Round the World Flyers" decorated by Secretary of War Dwight Davis.
1929-30 President Hoover uses room 274 as office after Christmas Eve fire damages West Wing offices.
1930 SWN renamed the Department of State Building. Plans approved by Congress to reface exterior with Greek Revival style façades. Project shelved in 1933 due to depressed economy.
1938 War Department vacates building.
1939 Bureau of Budget moves in from Treasury. Director holds office in room 252.
1941 In room 208, Cordell Hull dismisses Japanese envoys after receiving news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
1944 "The State Department Speaks" series is broadcast by Secretary of State Cordell Hull and other high-ranking officials from their offices in the building.
1947-49 State Department vacates the building.
1949 Building renamed the Executive Office Building (EOB).
1950 President Eisenhower begins using room 474 for press conferences.
1955 First televised press conference ever made by a president (Eisenhower) in room 474 on January 19. Two bowling lanes installed in the EOB basement.
1957 Eisenhower’s Advisory Commission on Presidential Office Space recommends demolition of EOB to build a modern office building.
1960 The 1957 Commission’s plan to demolish the EOB is revived and debated in Congress and in the press.
1961 GSA, lacking a clear mandate for its demolition, announces that the EOB would "stand indefinitely." Vice Presidents begin to hold office in room 274 starting with Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ).
1962 Lafayette Square restoration project recommends restoration and continued use of buildings as executive offices.
1963-69 Vice President Hubert Humphrey holds office in room 180 while LBJ remains in room 274 as President.
1965-67 Federal Office Building #7 is built behind Blair House and is named New Executive Office Building, thus the nickname Old Executive Office Building begins to be used.
1969 Building designated a National Historic Landmark. President Nixon uses room 180 as his private office until 1974.
1971 Executive Office Building placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1972 Executive Office Building registered as a landmark property on the District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites.
1983 Historic restoration of spaces within the building to their appearance at the time of completion begins.
1988 Wives of vice presidents begin to have offices in the building starting with Marilyn Quayle (room 269) and Tipper Gore (rooms 200-201).
1991-95 Restoration of roof completed in five phases.
1994 White House web site unveiled.
1999 Old Executive Office Building renamed Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
2001-02 Room 474 used as Coalition Information Center during the war on terrorism "Operation Enduring Freedom."
2002 President George W. Bush and Eisenhower family rededicate and formally rename the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on May 7.

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