White House Visitor Center Rehabilitation and Closure Information
The White House Visitor Center is closed for rehabilitation. A temporary visitor center is located near the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion, just west of the intersection of 15th and E streets, NW.
1939 - 1940 Tree Lightings
The site for the tree lighting tradition came full circle when the ceremony returned to the Ellipse in 1939. Each of these two years, live red cedar trees were transplanted from land near George Washington's home in Mount Vernon to the Ellipse. At the 1940 ceremony President Franklin D. Roosevelt prefaced his prepared remarks with an announcement that if it was desirable he and Mrs. Roosevelt would like the celebration moved to the South Lawn of the White House grounds next year remarking that such a shift in locale would make for a "more homey" celebration.
by C. L. Arbelbide
January 6, 2001
Did You Know?
On March 3, 1931, the Star-Spangled Banner, by Francis Scott Key, is approved by President Herbert Hoover and Congress as the national anthem. The lyrics of the anthem were inspired during the bombing of Fort HcHenry by British ships at the head of Baltimore harbor in September of 1814.