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  • James Hoban White House Competition Design
    James Hoban
    drawings & plans
    White House
    This plan was drawn by James Hoban circa his 1793-1794 designs for the White House. Hoban, an Irish-born architect, won the competition to design the President's House. The competition was announced by then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and the prize for the winner was $500 or a medal of equal value. This drawing captures an initial plan for the North Front of the White House. Winfield Parks photographed this plan in 1962.
  • James Hoban White House Competition Design
    James Hoban
    drawings & plans
    White House
    This plan was drawn by James Hoban circa his 1793-1794 designs for the White House. Hoban, an Irish-born architect, won the competition to design the President's House. The competition was announced by then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and the prize for the winner was $500 or a medal of equal value. This drawing captures an initial plan for the North Front of the White House. Winfield Parks photographed this plan in 1962.
  • James Hoban White House Competition Design
    James Hoban
    drawings & plans
    White House
    This plan was drawn by James Hoban circa his 1793-1794 designs for the White House. Hoban, an Irish-born architect, won the competition to design the President's House. The competition was announced by then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and the prize for the winner was $500 or a medal of equal value. This drawing captures an initial plan for the North Front of the White House. Winfield Parks photographed this plan in 1962.
  • Old Basement Groin Vaulting
    Dahl Taylor 
    drawings & plans 
    This drawing of the White House groin vaulting was done by artist Dahl Taylor. The groin vaulting and a support system of arches was originally constructed in the old basement of the Executive Mansion by stonemasons under the supervision of Collen Williamson and Jeremiah Kale. The original vaulting survived until the Harry S. Truman renovation from 1948-1952.
  • Basement Entrance, North Side
    Benjamin Henry Latrobe
    drawings & plans
    North Portico
    This elevation shows Benjamin Henry Latrobe's original plans for the basement entrance on the north side of the White House. Situated beneath the raised platform that supported the main entrance, this basement doorway included Collen Williamson's flanking rustication around the door and keystone. This design feature was widely popular in the 18th Century.
  • Ceremonial Trees Garden Plan
    Sharon Bradley-Papp
    drawings & plans
    This drawing of a garden plan was made by Sharon Bradley-Papp around 1996. It highlights the trees planted by presidents and first ladies on the North and South Grounds of the White House. The more than three dozen commemoratives represent only a small portion of the White House trees, but they are among the most venerable.
  • Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Henry Latrobe
    Thomas Jefferson
    letter
    drawings & plans
    This letter from President Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Henry Latrobe is dated May 22, 1807. In it, Jefferson sketches a decorative landscape for the White House Grounds. Thomas Jefferson was closely involved with the construction of the White House in its earliest days. Latrobe is best known as the architect who designed the U.S. Capitol, St. John's Church, and the Decatur House in Lafayette Square, the White House colonnades, and the Madison state rooms. He was also the chief engineer for the U.S. Navy.
  • Extended West Wing Intended Excavation
    Thomas Jefferson
    drawings & plans
    This sketch of the White House Grounds was drawn by Thomas Jefferson in the early 1800's. It depicts his plan for the White House Grounds, and features his proposed excavations for an extended west wing.
  • Latrobe Landscape Sketch
    Benjamin Henry Latrobe
    drawings & plans
    This sketch was included in a letter to President Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Henry Latrobe sent in 1807. It depicts his ongoing landscape projects at the White House. The earth was too high for the extension of the west wing and needed to be excavated. The South Grounds were also being enclosed by an irregular semicircular stone wall. Latrobe is best known as the architect who designed the U.S. Capitol, St. John's Church, and the Decatur House in Lafayette Square, the White House colonnades, and the Madison state rooms. He was also the chief engineer for the U.S. Navy.
  • Hoban to the Federal City Commission (Part I)
    James Hoban
    letter
    This letter was written by James Hoban, designer and architect of the White House, to the Commissioners of the Federal City on November 3, 1792. The letter outlines Hoban's initial material requests for construction of the President's House. Hoban also suggests hiring stonecutters from Ireland, his home country, that he was familiar with. Following President George Washington's wish, the President's House would be a house of stone. With the materials and design in place, this letter marks the beginning of construction on Hoban's grand design. Please see image 1113613 for part II.