Harry S. Truman's grandson reveals White House underwent constru - KCTV5 News

Harry S. Truman's grandson reveals White House underwent construction

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Gutting a house is a common practice, and no house is an exception, not even the White House.

Clifton Truman Daniel is Harry S. Truman’s oldest grandson, and he is speaking Wednesday night at the Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence.

He will be telling his grandfather’s stories, including what his family describes as a dilapidated, falling apart White House when Truman became president.

Daniel commented some modifications by past presidents led to floors creaking, things popping, and a general feeling that being inside the White House was not safe.

“The White House was falling apart on the inside, primarily due to questionable decisions on the part of Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge. And neither one of them, they weren’t architects,” Daniel said.

At one point, Daniel said his grandmother’s piano pierced the floor and narrowly missed falling through the dining room ceiling.

Other family members have said the floors would sometimes sway as if they were floating in space.

“It was not in prime condition at all. And part of it was because of the depression and because of the war. The Roosevelts had not felt comfortable putting any money into their own comfort, their own home, while there was a war and their people were suffering through a depression,” Daniel said.

He added there was also a bad rat problem.

Over the course of more than two years, his grandfather gutted the White House down to its original walls to start from scratch.

While it was a huge accomplishment, Daniel said his grandfather’s biggest accomplishment will always be showing America that a man born in Lamar, MO, who grew up in middle-class America could one day be president.

Truman always played down being president so the family would not become prideful, Daniel mentioned.

Daniel will share many other stories Wednesday night, and there will be family members of other past presidents as well, including the Kennedys and the Eisenhowers.

The event will be a real peek into an often unseen part of history. It is free to attend, but requires pre-registration. Click here for more information.

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