The Old Executive Office Building, (Eisenhower Executive Office Building) ,Washington DC


Old Executive Office Building
Official White House photo

The Old Executive Office Building, now renamed the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, is a National Historic Landmark, that was built between 1871 and 1888. Designed by Alfred B. Mullet in the Second Empire Style, the building first housed the Departments of State, War, and Navy. Much of the interior was designed by Richard Von Ezdorf using fireproof cast-iron structural and decorative elements. The building became seen as inefficient and was nearly demolished in 1957. Since 1981, major renovations have been carried out including the development of a comprehensive preservation program and the formulation of a master plan for the building’s continued adaptive use. The building continues to house various agencies that comprise the Executive Office of the President, such as the Office of the Vice President, the Office of Management and Budget and the National Security Council.

The Old Executive Office Building, c. 1890
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Many celebrated national figures have participated in the historical events that have taken place within the building’s granite walls. Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, and George Bush all had offices in this building before becoming President. It has housed 16 Secretaries of the Navy, 21 Secretaries of War, and 24 Secretaries of State. Winston Churchill once walked its corridors and Japanese emissaries met here with Secretary of State Cordell Hull after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. President Herbert Hoover occupied the Secretary of Navy’s office for a few months following a fire in the Oval Office on Christmas Eve, 1929. In recent history Richard Nixon had a private office here during his presidency. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was the first in a succession of Vice Presidents to the present day that have had offices in the building.

The Old Executive Office Building, (Eisenhower Executive Office Building) is located at 17th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW. Public tours are available on Saturday mornings by advance reservation only. To make a reservation, please call the Preservation Office between the hours of 9:00 am and noon, Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 202/395-5895, and have available legal name, date of birth, country of citizenship, and Social Security number for each visitor. Metro stop: Farragut North or Farragut West