Did you know that during the late 1940s the White House was completely gutted and rebuilt? Apparently repairs and maintenance had been neglected during the Depression and War years, and so when Harry Truman took office he inherited a home that was by many accounts nearing collapse. You can read about the story at the White House museum web site, but you can really delve into the reconstruction via the US National Archives, which has put many of the interesting photos from this unique time online in its Flickr photostream. It’s fascinating to see the addition of what became known as the Truman Balcony, as well as the cavernous interior of the east wing entirely gutted and held together with a spiderwork of steel. Another instance in which I’m glad someone had the foresight to commission a photographer to document such a one-of-a-kind historic event.