President William Howard Taft made the West Wing a permanent building, expanding it southward, doubling its size, and building the first Oval Office. On Christmas Eve 1929 a holiday party roared in the East Room of the White House for guests of President Hoover. Smoke was noticed by a White House telephone operator who sounded the alarm. Dec 17 2020 by Mindy McCollough. This gallery features images from Lighting the Menorah: Celebrating Hanukkah at the White House, which chronicles the celebration of Hanukkah... Join us in learning more about White House History right from your own home. The children were never aware of any trouble. March 3, 1929, aftermath of the fire at the Los Angeles Auto Show. 64, 65 dated 1918. You will be more comfortable and so will I.” 5. President Hoover, clad in a heavy blue overcoat and a black hat, stood watching on top of the West Terrace, puffing a cigar, rubbing his hands for warmth and occasionally dodging water spouts from the swinging hoses of the firefighters. Congress approved emergency funds for repairs, and President Herbert Hoover and his staff moved back in on April 14, 1930. The next year, President Herbert Hoover sent toy fire trucks to some of his young guests. This newsreel includes footage from the fire on Christmas Eve and the following reconstruction. The next morning President Hoover, his physician and several cabinet members sloshed through still-standing water and looked at the damage. President Hoover left a Christmas Eve reception for children in order to direct efforts to retrieve important documents, but not all records could be saved. The cause of the fire was found to be an overheated flue in the open fireplace that had glowed cheerily in Secretary Newton’s office in the northwest corner of the wing. The White House Christmas Eve fire of 1929. This is the story. Several firefighters, along with police and fire surgeon Dr. John A. Reed, carried Clark outside where he was taken to a hospital. Many people don’t know about the White House Christmas Fire of 1929. The White House Historical Association recently unveiled the design of the 2016 Official White House Christmas Ornament. The fire was supposedly started from a blocked chimney vent or defective electric wiring. 1929 Photo The wrecked lobby. Thousands of Images covering the History of the White House, Official White House Ornaments, Books & More, “$60,000 Flames Eat West Wing of White House: Executive Offices Are Ruined; Furnishings Taken to Safety,” Washington Post, December 25, 1929, 1, “Fire Fails to Halt White House Party: First Lady Follows Example of Dolly Madison by Keeping Cool,” Washington Post, December 25, 1929, 1; William D. Crump, The Christmas Encyclopedia, 3rd ed. Responding firefighters braved danger battling the flames. The President at the time was Herbert Hoover. The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. Which administration holds the record for the number of Christmas trees displayed at the White House? As flames licked the walls of West Wing offices, 130 firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze. (McFarland and Co., Inc., 2013), 443, “Fire Duty Called Scores of Police,” Evening Star (Washington, D.C.) with Sunday Morning Edition, December 25, 1929, pg. On Christmas Eve 1929, shortly after the United States fell into a deep economic depression, an electrical fire broke out in the West Wing of the White House. FIRE AT THE WHITE HOUSE. The fire was thought to be contained when the first engines arrived. The White House has been burned down twice. They spotted the fire around 8:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. How many weddings have been held at the White House? The fire was thought to be contained when the first engines arrived. It was started by a blocked fireplace flue on Christmas Eve. After repair work was completed, President Herbert Hoover and his aides moved back into the West Wing on April 14, 1930. In the end, it became a four-alarm fire with dozens of engines and ladder companies working to extinguish the inferno. Over the years several presidents have had private offices in the building, and Herbert Hoover used room 274 as his main office after a Christmas Eve fire in 1929 damaged the West Wing of the White House. The executive offices were heavily damaged and the White House press room was ruined. History Happy Hour: Winter Holidays and…. Many people don’t know about the White House Christmas Fire of 1929. By approximately 10:30 pm the fire had been put out. The cause of the fire was found to be an overheated flue in the open fireplace that had glowed cheerily in Secretary Newton’s office in the northwest corner of the wing. I want you to get your secretaries away from the table.”, “I’ll go too,” said President Hoover as he rose from the table and asked the men to follow him into the hallway; the president’s son Allan Hoover joined them. The fire had one other sequel. Rice of the White House telephone and telegraph unit refused to leave his post, Rice stayed on throughout the fire, working the switchboard, oblivious to the clamor of yelling and shouted orders, even though his eyes were stung by smoke and a foot of water filled the room. The White House Christmas Eve fire of 1929. Date/Time Dec 17, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Location. The White House Historical Association recently unveiled the design of the 2016 Official White House Christmas Ornament.Honoring the presidency of Herbert Hoover, the ornament is a vintage fire truck design commemorating the 1929 Christmas Eve four-alarm fire of the West Wing. A native of Washington, D.C., and a fire buff of long standing, Colonel HeM witnessed the fire at the White House in 1929, when he was thirteen years old. On Christmas Eve 1929, the White House experienced its most powerful fire since the British torched it 115 years earlier. 1929 Aftermath of the Fire at the Los Angeles Auto Show, March 3 - Photographs Auburn Collection. Climbing down, he collapsed on the ground and was taken to the hospital where he recovered overnight. 6 to 7 p.m. Zoom Webinar Speaker: Craig Wright, Archivist, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum Smoke was noticed by a White House telephone operator who sounded the alarm. Once the fire was extinguished, Congress quickly approved a special appropriation to repair the damage. 11:16 am Someone was either burning evidence of incompetence / criminal activity, or setting up a cover story to claim later that something was destroyed by that fire. Because the White House was not insured; its officials had to ask Congress for a special appropriation to repair the damage. Engineers inspecting the White House roof after the fire, January 1930. In his small switchboard room in the basement, M.M. The History and Traditions of a Classic Dessert. “The whole loft is burning up!” Wood cried. Workers collect fire-damaged debris from the Oval Office, December 26, 1929. Meeting Room B Description . Facebook; Twitter; WhatsApp; SMS; Email; Print; Save; The Forest Lake Fire Department responded to a call on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7:17 p.m. for a residential fire on the 6400 block of 205th Court North in Forest Lake. Private Walter G. Clark of No. As flames licked the walls of West Wing offices, 130 firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze. Art in the White House. At about 8:00 p.m., White House messenger Charlie Williamson smelled smoke coming from the West Wing executive offices and called White House police officer Richard Trice and Secret Service agent Russell Wood. History buffs may want to know which president was in office when the White House was set on fire. The person who smelled the fire was the White House’s messenger Charlie Williamson. As flames licked the walls of West Wing offices, 130 firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze. I think you mean the one on Christmas Eve 1929.. The design is inspired by the fire trucks that responded to the 1929 Christmas Eve fire during his administration. President Herbert Hoover's wife, Lou, however, Lou wasn't about to let a fire Grinch steal the occasion for the kids. The term "White House" is often used as a metonym for the president and their advisers.. The History and Traditions of a Classic Dessert, On Christmas Eve 1929 the White House experienced its most powerful fire since the British torched the Executive Mansion 115 years earlier. First Lady Lou Hoover was told about the fire and calmly remained to supervise the party. When President Hoover’s group reached the executive office they crawled through a window to the left of the president’s desk and began removing steel cabinets packed with files. 3, Pumpers worked furiously from hydrants up to five blocks away from the White House to supply the water necessary to combat the flames. New arrivals to the... On November 20, 2020, First Lady Melania Trump unveiled a new addition to the east end of the Rose Garden. 3, “Hoover Superintends Rescue of Documents: President Appears Relieved When His Papers Are Safe and Then Looks upon Fire from Viewpoint of Interested Spectator,” Washington Post, December 25, 1929, 1; “Sidelights of Fire,” Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), December 25, 1929, 3, “President’s News Conference of April 15, 1930,” in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Herbert Hoover, 1930 (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976), 136. 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