When President Harry S. Truman moved his family into the White House in 1945, he was annoyed by the draftiness, creaking floors and mysterious sounds which seemed to permeate the old building.
Soon, people noticed chandeliers swaying without any apparent cause and floors visibly moving when stepped on.
Structural investigations revealed that the White House, which had been burned down in the War of 1812 and rebuilt, expanded and retrofitted in a haphazard manner over the decades, was only standing, in the words of the Public Buildings Administration commissioner, “by force of habit.”
Examiners concluded that the second floor was a fire hazard and in imminent danger of collapse. Foundations were sinking, walls were peeling away and disused water and gas pipes added unsustainable weight to the building.
In June 1948, the leg of First Daughter Margaret Truman’s piano fell through the rotting floorboards of her second floor sitting room. Numerous attempts at small fixes were made, but it eventually became clear that drastic measures would be necessary.
The Trumans moved across Pennsylvania Avenue to the Blair House, and in 1949 Congress authorized a $5.4 million project to replace the interior of the building while preserving the historic exterior facade.
Story by @Mashable.