Von 1949 bis 1952 wurde das Weiße Haus unter Präsident Harry S. Truman wegen Baufälligkeit komplett entkernt und anschließend rekonstruiert. The United States National Archives and Records Administration hat auf Flickr ein Album frei von Urheberrechtsbeschränkungen mit Fotos der sogenannten „Truman reconstruction“, aus dem ich mal eine kleine Auswahl zusammengestellt habe.
Shortly after moving into the White House, President Harry S. Truman noticed the telltale signs of a building under serious physical stress. He frequently complained of drafts and unusual popping and creaking noises in the old house. Early in 1948, in response to the President’s concerns, engineering reports confirmed that the White House was in a serious state. Burned to the exterior walls in 1814, further compromised by the successive additions of indoor plumbing, gas lighting, electric wiring, heating ducts, and major modifications in 1902 and 1927, some said the White House was standing only from the force of habit. The decision was made to move the Trumans across the street into the Blair House for three years while the White House underwent a complete reconstruction within its original exterior walls.
Abbie Rowe, a photographer for the National Park Service assigned to document the activities of the President, became the Official Photographer for the renovation of the White House. His photos document the condition of the White House before the renovation as well as the engineering challenges faced by workers to rebuild the inside of the White House without tearing down the outside walls. President Truman insisted that the outside walls of the building were inviolate – they could not be removed or cut in any way. Bulldozers and other heavy construction equipment had to be dismantled, moved into the empty White House in pieces, and rebuilt on the inside.