Tag Archives: history

The_President's_House_by_George_Munger,

Did you think the White House locked automatically after 1814?

The President should feel safer now.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Service Director Julia Pierson says the front door to the White House now locks automatically in a security breach.

Pierson told a House panel that the switch to automatic locks at the White House’s north door was made after an Army veteran jumped the fence on Sept. 19 and made his way into the interior of the building through two unlocked doors.

Photograph republished here under a public domain license.

The Constitution Fetish

The original Constitution was simply filed away and, later, shuffled from one place to another. When City Hall underwent renovations, the Constitution was transferred to the Department of State. The following year, it moved with Congress to Philadelphia and, in 1800, to Washington, where it was stored at the Treasury Department until it was shifted to the War Office. In 1814, three clerks stuffed it into a linen sack and carried it to a gristmill in Virginia, which was fortunate, because the British burned Washington down. In the eighteen-twenties, when someone asked James Madison where it was, he had no idea.

In 1875, the Constitution found a home in a tin box in the bottom of a closet in a new building that housed the Departments of State, War, and Navy. In 1894, it was sealed between glass plates and locked in a safe in the basement. In 1921, Herbert Putnam, a librarian, drove it across town in his Model T. In 1924, it was put on display in the Library of Congress, for the first time ever.

The battle over the Constitution : The New Yorker