The West Wing
The history of the West Wing dates to the early years of the White House.
President Thomas Jefferson, the first full-term occupant of the White
House, proposed one-story extensions to the east and west to connect the
President's house with adjacent office buildings. President Jefferson's
design concepts survive in part through the terraces that connect the
Residence of the White House with the East and West Wings.
The terraces, as constructed, were used for household functions and did
not provide additional office space. The president continued to live and
work in the White House proper for the remainder of the century with his
executive offices taking up much of the second floor, the same floor as
the living quarters. Official and family needs, however, made this
For example, in 1860 a state visit by Edward, Prince of Wales, distressed
the Buchanan administration because of the lack of appropriate guest
accommodations. Elaborate schemes were set forth to alleviate the crowded
conditions under the Harrison, Cleveland and McKinley administrations, but
it was not until 1902, under the direction of President Theodore
Roosevelt, that the presidential offices were removed from the Residence
to the addition that became known as the West Wing.
Today, the West Wing is the center of activity at the White House. The
West Wing houses the President's Oval Office, the offices of his executive
staff, the Cabinet Room, the Roosevelt Room, and the James S. Brady Press