Remnant of a burned White House timber removed from the White House during the 1950 renovations, from the 1814 White House fire started by the British during the War of 1812. Bears plaque to side reading "Original White House Material/ Removed in 1950" with the Presidential Seal in the center. Housed in a custom made marquetry box comprised of walnut and oak from White House repairs and cedar from the White House grounds. Construction diagram pasted to the interior of the lid and signed by the maker F. C. Mayes. Wood artifact – 4 1/2" x 2 1/2". 2" H x 6" W x 3 3/4" D. Note: From 1949 to 1952, the White House underwent a major renovation. President Harry Truman noticed when he moved in that the White House was quite dilapidated, and pressed Congress for funds to refurbish the mansion. In the House of Representatives, the White House renovation was overseen by the Public Works Committee, on which sat first-term Congressman Gerald Ford. Truman gave Ford and other committee members a personal tour of the White House, pointing out its defects. What Ford remembered most, however, "was when he took us into the Oval Office and I saw that little sign on his desk: 'The Buck Stops Here'. I thought, Well, that's a good description of a President's job". The three-year project included tearing down all but the exterior walls and rebuilding everything within. In the process, workers found charred lumber from the burning of the White House in 1814. Clearly these structurally unstable pieces could not remain. Instead, they were removed and sold to the public as souvenirs, as directed by the Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion. In March of 1952, a small ceremony marked the end of the renovation and the opening of the refurbished and structurally-sound White House. Provenance: From the estate of Captain Gordon Wells, member of the Secret Service's Uniformed Division, the White House Police, from 1943 through 1967. During his tenure, Wells received mementos from sitting Presidents and First ladies of 5 administrations, from Franklin Roosevelt through Lyndon B. Johnson. CONDITION: Both artifacts in very good condition.
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