The decision to remodel was made when President Truman grew concerned after taken office in 1945, because he noticed drafts and creaking noises in the White House that were unsettling. But it wasn't until after he decided to add a balcony to the South Portico in 1948, that engineers found that the entire house was not structurally sound and construction was desperately needed.
According to the website White House History, many felt that the structure was only standing by "force of habit." The White House Museum says there were plans to tear down the whole building and start from scratch. But instead, congress decided to keep the exterior as is and remodel from the inside (basically, it became just a shell).
During the process, many concerns arrose: there were cracks in the foundation, unnecessary building weight and weakened beams. But after nearly four years of work, the White House was completely transformed, with new staircases, oak flooring and steel columns (of course it wasn't until the arrival of the Kennedys that distinctive style was added to home.).
Everything was captured by photographer Abbie Rowe, whose gorgeous images were found on the U.S. National Archives' Flickr stream. Click through our slideshow to see the amazing process and head over to the U.S. National Archives for more information.
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