One of the most amazing stories of the First White House has been the extensive restorations we have been through. The first was in 1921 when the House was dismantled in thirds, boards numbered and then moved and restored in its present location at 644 Washington Avenue.
Fifty years later the FWH was in desperate need of repair. The State Building Commission had restricted the second floor to eight (8) visitors at a time due to the structural problems. As a Bicentennial project in 1976 the second restoration was begun. Mistakes made in 1921 were corrected, experts were brought in and a wonderful “save” was made. Steel reinforcing beams were placed to support the 100,000 visitors we have each year. Needless to say the reopening took place amid much fanfare.
The third major restoration took place in 1991 when all the lead paint was removed and the House completely stripped and repainted. Time doesn’t permit me to tell you all about this now, so I will save this for another time.
Lastly, the House was closed for another 18 months starting in 2007 to completely replace the air conditioning and heating units. We reopened for business in mid-2008. What a joy to once again have visitors coming in and after several years of no heat and no air condition to enjoy these amenities, thanks to the efforts of the Finance Department of the State of Alabama in especially to Mr. Jim Main, Director of Finance at the time who gave the go ahead to once again “save the First White House”!