This baluster and lintel were removed from the White House during the
first major restoration of its exterior in 1980-97. George Washington
directed that the White House be made of stone, as were all important
European buildings at that time.
Pierre LEnfant, architect of the new federal city, contracted with the owners of Virginias Aquia
Creek quarry for their sandstone. But it was not durable.
Can you spot the concrete patch on the lintel?
It was one of hundreds of cosmetic repairs made before the White House
restoration. Until then, iron sutures and braces joined cracked stones,
sheet metal capped eroded carvings, and paint camouflaged everything.
For about 190 years, cosmetic repairs such as these kept up the exterior
appearance of the White House. Finally, however, the problems were too
After scraping off 28
layers of white paint, modern stone carvers restored the exterior,
using recycled sandstone from the Capitols east front.
During the restoration,
some unsalvageable stone was replaced with recarved sandstone that had
been removed from the Capitol in the 1950s.
The White House around 1827.