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History of the Oval Office Decor

March 24, 2021

The President’s working space in the White House is probably one of the world’s most recognizable offices. But the Oval Office was not always where it is now in the White House – and it was not always oval. The office was moved to its current location in 1934. In 1902, Theodore Roosevelt built a rectangular room on the ground floor of the new West Wing, replacing offices on the second floor of the White House. William Howard Taft made it into an oval in honor of a symbolic feature of George Washington’s Philadelphia residence: a room with a bowed end where the first President would stand surrounded by a circle of guests, allowing him to democratically greet each visitor from the same distance.

Presidents leave their mark on the room by having it decorated according to their individual tastes – except for President Jimmy Carter who kept President Gerald Ford’s decor.

I cannot get the gizmo to embed, but if you would like to compare Oval Offices throughout history, click this link.

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