Tuesday, May 3, 2016

10 fun facts about the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

There are many cool buildings located in the heart of Washington, D.C. From the magnificent monuments located on the National Mall to the U.S. Capitol to the White House to the numerous government buildings - there are a lot of buildings around town with unique and/or interesting characteristics.

Photo of the rear of the Old Executive Building, I was at the Tidal Basin and zoomed in from this distance

One of my favorite buildings is the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Located next door to the White House, this building is generally not open to the public (unless you know someone and can go as a guest) but visitors can come view its magnificent exterior.  

Old Executive Office Building
Front of the Eisenhower Executive Building

Not familiar with this building? Or even if you are, here are some fun facts you may or may not know about the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

1. The Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) was designed in French Second Empire style. It took 17 years to build. Construction commenced in 1871 and was completed in 1888. It was designed by Alfred Mullet, Supervising Architect of the Treasury.  At the time of completion, it was the largest office building in the District. It cost $10,038,482.42 to build. It is located directly next door to the White House’s west wing.  

2. In the original build, there were 553 rooms, 900 exterior columns, 1,314 interior doors, 1,572 exterior windows, 4,004 bronze stair balusters, 1,784 steps and 151 fireplaces. 

Outside the Old Executive Office Building

3. Initially, the building was erected to house the State, War and Navy Departments. These departments began to exit the EEOB in the early 20th century. Fast forward almost a century and today the building serves a different purpose – it primarily houses White House staff.

4. After it was built, not everyone was appreciative of its elaborate design. It has been referred to as a “monstrosity” and writer Henry Adams called it an “architectural infant asylum”. 

EEOC in Washington DC

5.  In 1949, the building was given to the Executive Office of the President and renamed to be the “Executive Office Building”. Today, the building is also known unofficially as the “Old Executive Building” as many people in the region still refer to it by that name.

6. There are almost two miles of black and white tiled corridors inside the building. To minimize damage from fire, most of the interior detail is of cast iron or plaster, not wood. 

7. The departments moved into the building in stages. The first to arrive was the State Department in 1875. In 1879 the Navy Department moved in, followed almost a decade later by the War Department. 

Eisenhower Executive Office Building - Washington DC

8. Many of the United States’ most celebrated national figures spent time in the EEOB. Seven presidents had offices in its elaborate interior before taking office – Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.
9. Many modern-era Vice Presidents have had offices in the EEOB. Seems to make sense being most staffers work there and its close proximity to the White House.
10. Set for demolition during the 20th century (reportedly, three times!), it ultimately was not torn down and and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1969. It was subsequently listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. 

Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOC)
If the inside, which I have heard is stunning from someone I know who has been inside, is as interesting as the outside, it must really be something to see. I've plugged into Google and have seen some interior photos; this is one building I'd love to see.

The EEOB is located at 1650 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20502.

EEOC, Washington DC


  1. What a fascinating building and I love your pictures.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment and for stopping by!