Washington's Whitehall: The Old Executive Office Building

Aram Bakshian delves into the annexe of Presidents in Washington DC

In its time, Washington DC's Old Executive Office Building the 'EOB' in local parlance has been called everything from 'one of the largest office buildings in the world' (c.1888, when, as the Army, Navy and State Building, it housed all of the most important departments of the US government, except the Treasury), to a 'soiled, Second Empire white elephant', (c.1957, when a presidential commission advocated and nearly accomplished its demolition). Although gradually supplanted by the Pentagon and a separate State Department building in the Foggy Bottom district of Washington, until 1947 it was the diplomatic nerve centre of the United States government, the site of nearly seven decades of policy-making, negotiating, treaty-signing and, in the closing days of 1941, the drafting of the United Nations Declaration.

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