The wood floor shown here was laid by Ronald Reagan and made of walnut and quartered white oak. This floor replaced a wood-grain linoleum laid by Lyndon Johnson in the mid-1960s. In August of 2005, this floor was replaced again
replicating the Reagan pattern.
The Oval Office Sits Empty during Renovations, 8/17/2001
What is this thing about Harry not having a house/not having anywhere to live? When did it start, and why is it still going? And also, what's up with the house people keep writing about that he's been renovated for ages?
Oh Harry Styles and the house saga. As you probably know Harry and Louis publicly lived together right after the X Factor. Then in…mid to late 2012 I want to say, those pesky Larry romance rumors began to deteriorate their friendship and Harry supposedly moved out and for the past year and a half his new house has been undergoing renovations. In the meantime he has supposedly been couch surfing…yes that is as ridiculous as it sounds. The rich and famous popstar has been living with everyone from the Teasedales to the Winstons to god only knows who else, everyone EXCEPT Louis though. So that’s where the jokes about Harry being homeless and living in a cardboard box came from. And what’s even better is how Harry himself started to joke about it: “I don’t live anywhere so no food” “I have that picture above my bed now. No. I don’t have a house.” etc. etc.
In 1836, President Jackson accepted 1,400-pound wheel of cheese from Col. Thomas Meacham, a dairy farmer near Sandy Creek, NY. The cheese was mammoth, and it sat, ripening, in the White House for over a year. Eventually, Jackson invited everyone in Washington, DC, to stop by and help consume the massive wheel. He threw the doors open, and in just two hours, the cheese was gone.
Even members of Congress went crazy for cheese and were absent from their seats. From the Vermont Phoenix, March 3, 1837:
Mr. Alford opposed the motion for a recess. He said it was time, if they intended to do any public business this session, that they forthwith set about it, for they had wasted enough time already. As for the battle with the great cheese at the White House, he was for leaving it to those whose tastes led them there, and to-morrow they might receive a full account of the killed and slain. The gentleman from Maine, (Mr Jarvis) could as well finish the speech he was making to the few members present, as not.
Mr. Wise remarked that it was pretty well understood where the absent members had gone. There was a big cheese to be eaten at the White House to-day, and the appetites of members had driven them there to partake in the treat. To obtain a quorum he therefore moved that the Seargent-at-arms be directed to go to the President’s house, and invite the members there to return to their seats. [“Those that have done eating!"—exclaimed a member.] “Oh yes,” continued Mr. W. “those that have done eating their cheese, of course.” ["And let them bring a portion with them,” said a third.] “No, he did not want any of it—he had no wish to partake of any thing at the White House.”
A motion was again made that the House take a recess till 4 o’clock.
This true story is the basis for today’s first virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day” at the White House, which is hosting an online open house for citizens to ask questions. Sadly, there will be no physical cheese giveaway!
When we heard about the event, our archivists hunted through our records, but there are no official Federal documents relating to the cheese, probably because the cheese was a private gift. (In fact, we only turned up a handful of cheese-related records, including a recipe for making “loaf” from cottage cheese.)
However, we did find a mention of Jackson and cheese in this handwritten note (see page 4 and 5) from President Truman in 1952. The White House was being renovated, and Truman was thinking of previous Presidents and their treatment of the official furnishings.
Truman wrote, “Then old Andy Jackson and his rough, tough backwoods [illegible] walking on the furniture, with muddy boots and eating a 300-pound cheese, grinding it into the lovely Adams and Monroe carpets!”
Jackson was not the first President to receive a giant wheel of cheese as a gift. President Jefferson received on as well. There is even a monument in Cheshire, MA, to the cheese press used to make the cheese for Jefferson.
Alas, this cheese slicer was patented 30 years too late to help President Jackson get rid of his cheese more quickly….
This week Mum and I have been busy! We had to go to our new house on Thursday and wait for the skip to arrive. That was fun to watch! A big truck and a strange man dropped it. Then Mum and Dad started to fill it with smelly carpet and other yucky things I wasn’t allowed to touch.
Guess what! Tomorrow (March 3rd) is my 2nd birthday!! I hope I get some good treats, after all this is my last birthday as an only child. Soon the baby will be here! I hope my litter brothers and sisters are having a good birthday week and have been spoilt too!
The White House Renovation, showing Oval Office above Blue Room. The north wall and part of floor removed for installation of steel shoring columns. Washington, D.C. Photo by Abbie Rowe. March 9, 1950.