Blair House, a National Historic Landmark, is part of the President’s Guest House Complex. The house itself was built for Dr. Joseph Lovell, the first Surgeon General on the United States, in 1824. In 1836 it was bought by Francis Preston Blair, Sr., a member of President Jackson’s “Kitchen Cabinet.” The Blair’s built a house next door for their daughter in 1852, which became known as the Lee House. The two houses were and still are practically used as one. The United States Government purchased Blair House in 1942 and it has been housing guests of the presidents since that time.
Blair House was an important home even its early years. The
Blairs were an influential family and their son Montgomery Blair was an advisor
to President Lincoln. The house experienced a resurgence in popularity in 1942
when became a place of residence for visiting dignitaries. It was frequent
visits by Winston Churchill that sparked President Franklin Roosevelt’s desire
to use the house for diplomatic purposes. It was purchased by the government in
Prior to Blair House, most guests of the president stayed in
the White House and then a hotel or embassy for the rest of the visit. During
the Truman administration the Blair House became the Truman White House.
Renovation and remodeling in the White House left a need for Truman to relocate
to Blair House. At this time as well, on November 1, 1950, Puerto Rican nationalists, Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo, made an assassination attempt on President Truman, in broad daylight. Collazo was mortally wounded and White House Policeman Leslie Coeffeit was killed in the failed attempt after he killed Torresola.
It now consists of four connected townhomes featuring more
than 120 rooms. It has 14 guestrooms, 3 formal dining rooms, two conference
rooms, a beauty salon, an exercise room and in-house laundry facility. It has a
full-time staff of 18 people including an executive chef and a sous chef. It is
not open to the public. If it is not occupied, Blair House often hosts special