A Brief History of Keeping Cool in the White House

A Brief History of Keeping Cool in the White House

Before air conditioning, many clever and innovative methods were used to keep warm. Because Washington D.C. is situated in an often warm and humid climate, the White House has tried many ways of keeping the nation’s presidents cool over the years. In honor of Presidents’ Day, let’s take a look at a brief history of keeping cool in the White House.

The First Cooled Air in the White House

In 1881, President James A. Garfield was wounded by a bullet and was unable to move to a cooler location during the Washington D.C. summer, as most presidents had done. Air was blown over thin screens of cotton that were dampened with ice water, and this air was then pumped into Garfield’s sickroom. This method lowered the temperature to a relatively comfortable 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

William Howard Taft Is Desperate to Get Cool

President Taft particularly hated the sweltering summers in Washington D.C. In 1909, he tried to install an experimental system of electric fans blowing over huge blocks of ice, but this did not work well. Ultimately, Taft had a screened room built on the roof of the White House so he could be cooled by the breezes while he slept at night.

President Wilson Moves Outdoors

President Woodrow Wilson found that the heat inside the White House was too unbearable to tolerate. Instead of working in the Oval Office, President Wilson set up shop outside in the Rose Garden. A huge tent was equipped with a desk, a telephone and electric lights. Wilson did most of his presidential business in this tent, where he could catch a breeze. Ultimately, he gave up and moved back inside because the sound of people playing tennis was too distracting.

Keep Cool With Modern Technology at Air Tech of Central Florida

The technology of air conditioning has vastly improved since Franklin D. Roosevelt first installed air conditioning in the White House in 1933. At Air Tech of Central Florida, we have the newest products and the best customer service, so you can remain cool throughout a blazing Florida summer or warm during the cooler months of the year. If you want a home of high comfort, call us today or schedule an appointment online.

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