Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Traveling Tuesday: The White House During WWII

 Traveling Tuesday: The White House During WWII

Courtesy: whitehouse.gov
Having lived in Maryland and then Northern Virginia for nearly thirty years, I often visited Washington, DC, and never tired of seeing the monuments and various government buildings scattered throughout the city. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House has been the official residence and workplace of every U.S. president since John Adams in 1800 when the nation's capital was moved from Philadelphia. A competition was held to determine who the designer would be, and Irish-born James Hoban won. Other structures he designed include The Octagon House in Washington, DC, and the Charleston County Courthouse.

When President Franklin Roosevelt arrived in January 1933, repairs from the 1929 fire in the White House had long been completed. However, several changes and additions were made after he moved in:

  • Air conditioning was added to the second-floor private quarters
  • An indoor pool was installed featuring water circulation and therapy for his polio
  • Broadcasting equipment was moved into the Diplomatic Reception Room for his fireside chats
  • The electrical system was rewired
  • The large and small kitchens were remodeled to include hotel-sized ranges and ovens, refrigerators and warming ovens, and electric dumbwaiters.
  • After the war in Europe began, National Geographic provided special wall-mounted map cabinets that held maps on rollers that were organized by hemisphere, region, and theater of operation.
Visitors were not uncommon, and one of the first to arrive after the onset of WWII was British Prime
Public Domain
Minister Winston Churchill. He arrived on December 22, 1941, and his meetings with FDR were code-named the Arcadia Conference.  Staff were not told who was coming, but according to former White House usher J.B. West, they were prohibited from being in the corridors on the day. "It didn't take long for the cigar smoke to announce his {Churchill's} presence." That would be his first of five journeys to the U.S. to meet with FDR, staying at the White House four times, as well as Camp David (formerly Camp Shangri-La).

Even First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was kept in the dark, recounting later in The Atlantic that she was told "we would be having some guests visit us" and that she "could not know who was coming, nor how many, but must be prepared for them to stay over for Christmas. He added as an afterthought that I must see to it that we had good champagne and brandy in the house and plenty of whiskey."

Courtesy White House
Historical Association
When Churchill would visit, the Monroe Room would be converted to a map room to display troop and ship movements. The prime minister's secretaries would work out of the Lincoln Study. During one visit in September 1943, FDR had to go to Hyde Park and according to General Hastings Ismay told Churchill, "please treat the White House as your home. Invite anyone you like to any meals, and do not hesitate to summon any of my advisors with whom you wish to confer at any time you wish." Ismay went on to comment that Churchill's decision to conduct business at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue without the president in residence is striking. I would have to agree.


A Love Not Forgotten

He can't remember. She can never forget.

Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She's still in love with her fiance, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?

It's been nearly two years since Charles "Chaz" Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

A Love Not Forgotten was formerly published in the Let Love Spring collection that is no longer in print.

Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/mv9xEJ

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