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.
White House Fence Restoration and Sidewalk Closure
The National Park Service is restoring the White House fence along Pennsylvania Avenue, portions of which are believed to date back to 1818. During this restoration work, sections of the White House sidewalk will be temporarily closed for public safety. More »
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?
Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to call his residence in Washington, D.C. the "White House". Prior to his term, it had been called the Executive Mansion or the President’s House.