From The Corner Office To The Oval Office: Where Past Presidents Worked Before The White House
Prior to his move into the country’s most prestigious office space — the Oval Office in the White House — Donald Trump (being inaugurated today as the 45th President of the United States) has spent much of his time working out of his Trump Tower office building in New York City. He even filmed the famous “Apprentice” series in the 58-story skyscraper.
Bisnow explored the office space past presidents held prior to entering the Oval Office, and the roles they filled while doing so.
Title Before Taking Office: U.S. Senator
Office Location: 713 Hart Senate Office Building, Capitol Hill Complex, Washington, DC
Prior to running for president in 2008, Barack Obama served as a U.S. senator for the State of Illinois from 2005 until he was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States in 2009. Obama had an individual office in the Capitol Hill complex, as has been the case for every U.S. senator and congressman since the 1800s. Development on the complex, under the control of the Architect of the Capitol, began in the early 1790s and it also houses the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court and the district courts.
Obama's office was in the Hart Senate Office Building — pictured is its atrium with its cool Calder sculpture and mobile. The 1.3M SF building broke ground in January 1975 and welcomed its congressional occupants in November 1982. The development process was riddled with scandal as the estimated cost of construction rose exponentially; originally pitched at $48M, the estimate rose to $230M before taxpayers complained and the government eventually capped construction at $138M.
George W. Bush
Title Before Taking Office: Governor of Texas; businessman
Office Location: Governor's Mansion, Austin, Texas
As Governor of Texas, Bush often worked out of the Governor’s Mansion. This has been the official residence for Texas governors since the 1850s, and is made up of 25 rooms and seven bathrooms. When Bush moved in with his family back in 2005, the space hadn’t had a facelift since 1979 when Gov. William Clements and his family moved in. $3M of improvements were completed around 1982. During his run for president in 2001, Bush waited for the results of the election here.
Title Before Taking Office: U.S. Governor
Office Location: Little Rock, Ark.
Bill Clinton was the youngest governor in the country when he took the helm in Arkansas in 1979. He served as governor for 11 years (non-consecutively) and was chair of the Democratic Leadership Council nonprofit before running for president in 1992. As governor, his offices were in the state Capitol building in Little Rock, Ark., alongside a slew of other state leadership. Clinton also likely worked out of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion at 1800 Center St in Little Rock, where he and his family lived for 12 years. The mansion is composed of more than 300,000 bricks and was erected from 1947 to 1950 for just shy of $200k.
George H.W. Bush
Title Before Taking Office: Vice President
Office Location: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC
George H.W. Bush served as vice president to Ronald Regan before he became president in 1989 so his move into the Oval Office was a short one. As with most VPs preceding him, the elder Bush had an office in the West Wing of the White House but took most of his meetings in the Vice President’s Ceremonial Offices in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The room looks as it did in 1879, which means a nautical theme: Until 1921, it housed the Navy Secretary's Office, so the design by well-known Boston painter/decorator William McPherson honors the Navy.
A feature to note is the Vice President's Desk, which was first used by Teddy Roosevelt in 1902. Starting in the 1940s, most vice presidents have signed the inside of the top drawer.