Weird History
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19 Photos Of What The Oval Office Looked Like Under Different Presidents

Updated July 8, 2019 141.2k views19 items

Nothing shows the historical progression of American politics quite like pictures of how the Oval Office changed over time. President Taft ordered the first Oval Office built in 1909, following his predecessor Teddy Roosevelt's order to construct the West Wing. The construction of this cool White House room satisfied his wife's request, which was to make the second floor of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue an exclusively domestic space. Comparing the first Oval Office of 1909, with its walls covered in "sea-grass green" burlap, to the 21st century incarnation's tasteful wallpaper and elegant draperies makes clear how the Oval Office changed over time. 

The gallery below features a photograph of the Oval Office under every president since Taft, which means it actually shows off two offices: the 1909-33 "Taft Oval Office" and the larger, more private "Modern Oval Office" of 1934 to the present, installed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Exploring the Oval Office throughout history provides an fascinating glimpse of the leaders who made it their office: some presidents, for example, chose to keep the desks or drapes of their predecessors, while others have swapped them out. This little bit of interior design is just one of the many cool things a US president can do.

Photo:
  • William Howard Taft, 1909–1913

    Photo: Wikimedia
  • Woodrow Wilson, 1913–1921

    Photo: Wikimedia
  • Warren G. Harding, 1921–1923

    Photo: Wikimedia
  • Calvin Coolidge, 1923–1929

    Photo: Wikimedia