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West Wing Historical Photo Essay

Before the 1902 White House restoration, greenhouses occupied the west side of the White House. The greenhouses were built in the 1850s. When President Theodore Roosevelt and his six children moved into the White House in September 1901, they were crowded on the second floor, which housed family living quarters and offices for staff. President Roosevelt ordered the construction of a temporary office building and a restoration of the White House in 1902. The 1902 White House restoration made significant changes to the "traffic patterns" of the White House. The north entrance to the White House became a private entrance, and visitors used the new east entrance. White House visitors still enter on the east side. Roosevelt's temporary office building was built on the west side of the White House. This one-story structure housed the President's office, the Cabinet Room and other offices. Today this building is known as the West Wing.
The President's Office in the 1902 West Wing was next door to the Cabinet Room. The President's Office was rectangular in shape. The Oval Office was built in the center of the West Wing in 1909 for President William Howard Taft. Roosevelt's Cabinet met in the Cabinet Room for the first time on November 6, 1902. The room in the White House to undergo the most change in 1902 was the State Dining Room, which could only hold 40 guests for dinner. A staircase was removed and the room was expanded to accommodate more than 100 guests. Moose and elk heads adorned the walls of the 1902 State Dining Room. Today's expanded West Wing is very similar to the 1902 "temporary" executive office building. After 100 years, the West Wing has transformed the grounds of the White House and the presidency.

Take a look at these historic photos of the West Wing, built 100 years ago.