Do You Know Where the Vice President Lives?


At first look, the stately dwelling with inexperienced window shutters may belong to anybody.

However the 128-year-old home at Quantity One Observatory Circle is the designated dwelling of the vp of the US and the place Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, are set to dwell for at the least the following 4 years.

Positioned about two miles from the White Home and adjoining to a number of embassies, the secluded dwelling sits on a 72-acre plot generally known as the US Naval Observatory. It isn’t open to the general public.

Right here’s what it’s best to know in regards to the residence that seven vice presidents have known as dwelling.

The 9,000-square-foot Queen Anne-style home, with a library, basement kitchen and a number of other bedrooms, was designed by the Washington architect Leon E. Dessez. It was inbuilt 1893 and was initially meant for the superintendent of the US Naval Observatory, a scientific company that moved to the site the same year from its authentic dwelling in Washington’s Foggy Backside neighborhood. Beginning within the Nineteen Twenties and for the following 5 a long time, the home served because the residence for the chiefs of naval operations and their households.

Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. was the last Navy official to live in the house, which was designated as the house for vice presidents in 1974.

Credit score…Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Historically, vice presidents had lived in their very own houses or in resorts whereas in workplace. However the need for the second in command to have his personal residence dates to at the least 1923, when the spouse of Senator John B. Henderson of Missouri provided a newly constructed dwelling because the official residence of the vp, according to The New York Times. The home was described as “imposing” and valued at $500,000.

Calvin Coolidge, who served as vp from 1921 to 1923, lived at a lodge throughout his tenure and later said in his autobiography that an “official residence with appropriate upkeep needs to be supplied for the Vice-President” and that the place “ought to have a settled and everlasting habitation and a spot, regardless of the monetary means of its momentary occupant.”

Charles Denyer, the creator of “Number One Observatory Circle” and a cybersecurity and nationwide safety skilled, stated the Secret Service was hampered by the shortage of an official deal with for the vp as a result of safety protocols couldn’t be established if every residence was completely different.

“It was a really fascinating scenario that the second strongest individual in the US of America, some of the highly effective folks on this planet, didn’t have a chosen momentary dwelling,” Mr. Denyer stated.

In March 1966, the Home Public Works Committee accepted the development of a three-story mansion for $750,000 on the grounds of the Naval Observatory for the vp. The following month, President Lyndon B. Johnson postponed the construction till financial circumstances improved, however the home was by no means constructed. On the time, Vice President Hubert Humphrey was dwelling in his own residence in Chevy Chase, Md.

After years of spending thousands on security measures on the personal houses of vice presidents — $81,000 for Gerald Ford’s dwelling in Virginia and $245,000 on Spiro T. Agnew’s dwelling in Maryland amongst others — Congress designated Quantity One Observatory Circle as “the official momentary residence” of the vp in 1974. (The “momentary” designation nonetheless stays.) It was the primary time in historical past {that a} dwelling was supplied for the second in command. On the time, lawmakers accepted $315,000 for repairs, renovations and a few furnishings.

“It’s form of a disgrace that we waited as lengthy we did to provide the vp a house of their very own,” stated Mike Purdy, a presidential historian and creator of “101 Presidential Insults.” “However in some methods that’s reflective of the insignificant position of the vice presidency because it was seen for therefore a few years.”

After the house’s official designation in 1974, one other three years glided by earlier than a vp moved in, according to the White House. Vice President Gerald Ford acceded to the presidency earlier than he may use it, and his personal vp, Nelson Rockefeller, had his own residence, utilizing Quantity One Observatory Circle solely as an entertaining house.

Below President Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale was the primary vp to dwell within the dwelling, beginning in 1977.

“Paradoxically and in parallel because the workplace of the vice presidency has grown in significance through the years, notably with the election of Vice President Walter Mondale in 1976, the house has grown significantly additionally when it comes to facilities and safety upgrades,” Mr. Denyer stated. “Vice President Mondale grew to become most likely probably the most consequential vp ever to that date. Carter concerned him in nearly every thing.”

Credit score…White Home picture by David Bohrer

The Navy nonetheless maintains the house, Mr. Denyer stated, whereas the Vice President’s Residence Basis raises personal funds for any redecorating or upgrades to the house.

Every vp and his household have contributed to the evolution of the house, Mr. Purdy stated, noting that George H.W. Bush, who was vp from 1981 to 1989, constructed a horseshoe pit and a quarter-mile observe on the property. His successor, Dan Quayle, put in a swimming pool, which years later received praise from Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Vice President Mike Pence and his spouse, Karen, have hosted many private dinners with donors and corporate executives however have made minimal modifications to the house, Mr. Denyer stated. In 2017, Mrs. Pence unveiled a beehive on the residence.

On Jan. 20, Ms. Harris will become the first woman, first Black individual, and first individual of Asian descent to be sworn in because the vp of the US. And if historical past is an indicator, she and Mr. Emhoff will put their very own mark on the home.

“Take into consideration this, who has lived in that dwelling for the higher a part of 45-plus years, white males, and right here comes this fully completely different individual,” Mr. Denyer stated, including that Ms. Harris’s arrival will put a “a lot wanted highlight” on the house.

Eyes will even be on Mr. Emhoff, who will tackle a place that traditionally has been defined by internet hosting and adorning for the vacation, in addition to strong work like caring for army households and creating wholesome consuming habits for youngsters.

In a video on Twitter, Mr. Emhoff stated he was honored and humbled to be the primary man to carry the position and stated he would make it his personal. “So, I do wish to set an instance for these sooner or later who can look again on the approach I’ve approached it and hopefully that’ll assist them as properly,” he stated.





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