White House Visitor Center, Washington, DC

White House Visitor Center

The White House Visitor Center is operated by the National Park Service and is located at the north end of the Department of Commerce Building in Malcolm Baldrige Hall, originally called the Great Hall. Mr. Baldrige was Secretary of Commerce from 1981 to 1985 during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Construction of the Commerce building began on October 4, 1927, when Herbert C. Hoover was the Secretary of Commerce. The cornerstone was laid on July 10, 1929, when Hoover was President, and the building was completed in 1932.

The Great Hall, 225 feet long and 62 feet wide, was originally used as the Patent Search Room for more than three million patents catalogued by the Department of Commerce. In celebration of our country’s two hundredth birthday, the Hall became the Bicentennial Visitor Center in 1976. Until 1989, it housed the Washington Tourist Information Center.

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