Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff will live on Number One Observatory Circle and will shine a spotlight on an often overlooked Washington address

But the 128-year-old house at Number One Observatory Circle is the designated home of the Vice President of the United States, where Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff will live for at least the next four years

Located about two miles from the White House and adjacent to several embassies, the secluded house is on 72 acres known as the United States Naval Observatory and is not open to the public

The 9A 1,000-square-foot Queen Anne-style house with a library, basement kitchen and multiple bedrooms was designed by Washington architect Leon E Dessez.It was built in 1893 and was originally intended for the superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory, a scientific agency operating in the Moved from their original residence in Washington’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood to the site the same year. From the 1920s and for the next five decades, the house served as the residence for the chiefs of naval operations and their families

Adm Elmo R Zumwalt Jr was the last Marine officer to live in the house designated as the home for Vice Presidents in 1974

Traditionally, vice presidents lived in the office in their own four walls or in hotels, however, the alternate’s desire to have his own residence dates back to at least 1923 when the wife of Senator John B. Henderson, of Missouri, offered a newly built house as the vice president’s official residence, according to the New York Times. The house was described as “imposing” and rated at 500Valued at $ 000

Calvin Coolidge, who served as vice president from 1921 to 1923, lived in a hotel during his tenure and later said in his autobiography that the vice president should be given “an official residence with reasonable maintenance” and that the position ” Should have a permanent and permanent home and place regardless of the financial capacity of its temporary resident ”

Charles Denyer, author of the Number One Observatory Circle and an expert on cybersecurity and national security, said the secret service was hampered by the lack of an official address for the vice president because security logs could not be drawn up for every residence was different

“It was a very interesting situation that the second most powerful person in the United States of America, one of the most powerful people in the world, didn’t have a specific temporary home,” said Mr. Said Denyer

In March 1966, the House Public Works Committee approved the construction of a three-story mansion for 750$ 000 at the Naval Observatory site for the Vice President Next month, President Lyndon B Johnson postponed construction until economic conditions improved, but the house was never built. At the time, Vice President Hubert Humphrey lived in his own house in Chevy Chase, Md.

After years of thousands spent on security in the private homes of Vice Presidents – 81$ 000 for Gerald Ford’s Virginia home and $ 245$ 000 for Spiro T Agnew’s home in Maryland, among others – In 1974, Congress named Observatory Circle Number One the Vice President’s “Official Temporary Residence” (The term “Temporary” remains) It was the first time in history that the alternate had a home At that time the legislature approved 315$ 000 for repairs, renovations, and some home furnishings

“It’s a shame we waited so long to give the Vice President a home of his own,” said Mike Purdy, a President’s historian and author of 101 Presidential Insults, “But in some ways that reflects reflected the insignificant role of the vice presidency as seen for so many years””

After the House was officially named in 1974, it was another three years before a Vice President moved in, according to the White House, Vice President Gerald Ford joined the presidency before he could use it, and his own Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, had his own home and only used observatory circle number one as a fun place

Under President Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale was the first Vice President to live at home from 1977

“Ironically, as the vice president’s office grew in importance over the years, particularly with the election of Vice President Walter Mondale in 1976, the home has grown significantly in terms of amenities and security improvements too”Mr. Denyer said,” Vice President Mondale has been probably the most consistent Vice President of all time by this point. Carter embroiled him in almost everything “

The Navy still maintains the house, Mr. Denyer said while the vice president’s Residence Foundation is raising private funds for home renovations or upgrades

Every Vice President and his family have contributed to the development of the House, Mr. Purdy said, noting that George HW. Bush, who served as Vice President from 1981 to 1989, built a horseshoe pit and quarter-mile track on the property.His successor, Dan Quayle, installed a swimming pool that was lauded years later by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen have hosted many private dinners with donors and corporate executives but made minimal changes to the house, Mr. Denyer said in 2017, Ms. Pence unveiled a beehive in the residence

On Jan 20, Ms. Harris will be the first woman, first black person, and first person of Asian descent to be sworn in as Vice President of the United States.And if history is an indicator, she and Mr. Emhoff will shape the house himself

“Think about who has lived in this house for more than 45 years, white men, and here comes this very different person,” said Mr. Denyer said, adding that Ms. Harris’ arrival will put the house in a “much-needed spotlight”

The eyes are also on Mr. Emhoff, who will occupy a position traditionally defined by the orientation and decoration of the vacation, as well as hard work like taking care of military families and developing healthy eating habits for children

In a video on Twitter, Mr. Emhoff said he was honored and humbled to be the first man to hold the role and said he would make it his own, “So I want to set an example for those in the future who can look back on my approach and hopefully help them too, “he said

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Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/us/politics/naval-observatory-vice-president.html