SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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State, War, Navy: 1917

State, War, Navy: 1917

Washington circa 1917. "State, War & Navy Building, 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Played there on Saturdays

When my dad was serving on the National Security Council in the 70's, he'd take me in to his office in this building on the weekends (he was always working). I was fascinated by the huge old radiator under his office window. It was warm and cozy inside, a beautiful building on the outside. Wish I could remember more about it than the radiator, the peeling paint and the very high ceilings, but I was only a child at the time.


This building is beautiful inside and out, and it's a bit distracting to sit in a meeting in the Secretary of War's conference room and realize all the history that must have taken place there. (It's also a bit disconcerting to look out the window, innocently, and see sharpshooters on the roof of the White House looking right back at you.)


I miss the days when you could drive right by the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. But that's the way things are today.

I've read that there was a plan, in the mid-20th century - to tear down this building and put up some bland bureaucratic government box. I'm so glad they didn't! This building is beyond cool!

Almost unchanged

As Ersi's post shows, the EOB has aged much more gracefully than most buildings of the era. It is much easier on the eyes than the nearby Depression (WPA) era government buildings.

I've attended some events in the building and it is a shame that it is not open to the public, though it almost feels like the elevators are original.

In addition to the recent evacuation, there was a rather serious fire there a little over a year ago when I was living down the street:

In those days...

... they used (huge) toy soldiers disguised as policemen to direct trafic.

In the drawer

Years ago I was shown the vice president's official office in the east side of this building overlooking the White House. In the center drawer of the desk, several previous occupants had carved their initials -- RMN, LBJ and others. The bottom of the drawer by that time was protected by a piece of glass. I wonder if JRB has had time (or the inclination) to continue that tradition. I also recall that another former vice president, Harry Truman, hated the Old Executive Office Building, calling it a "monstrosity."

Smoke in the hallway!

Given the sophistication of Shorpy selection, I'm sure it's not a coincidence that this is the building evacuated yesterday by the fire department (blocked chimney, smoke). It's now officially the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, commonly known as the Old Executive Office Building. (Yes, there is a New Executive Office Building.)

Lost street

This, of course, is now known as the Executive Office building and the general public has lost the use of that segment of Pennsylvania Avenue due to security concerns thanks to Timothy McVeigh and others.

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SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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