Having called the White House home for a term or two, several United States presidents added unique features to make it feel like their own. From a heated indoor swimming pool to a putting green, take a look at these extravagant additions.
Heated Indoor Swimming Pool
Suffering from poliomyelitis, President Franklin D. Roosevelt often swam at therapy pools at his home in New York or at a rehabilitation center in Georgia. After a money-raising campaign led by the New York Daily News, a heated indoor swimming pool was added to the west terrace between the White House and the West Wing in 1933. It was encircled by arched ceilings and high rows of half moon windows. When Richard Nixon took office, the space was converted into the White House pressroom. But with a love for swimming, his successor, President Gerald Ford, installed an outdoor pool on the South lawn in 1975.
Quite the birthday gift, bowling lanes were set up in the basement of the West Wing for President Harry S. Truman in 1947. They were moved to the Old Executive Office Building eight years later to make way for a mimeograph room. A year after President Nixon was elected, he had a one-lane alley built in an underground workspace area below the driveway leading to the North Portico. He and his wife were reportedly fond of the sport.
Small Movie Theater
Originally a long cloakroom, a small movie theater was installed in the East Wing in 1942 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It is home to 40 well-upholstered seats set behind four big armchairs. In 2004, it got a makeover from white curtains with a red floral design to just red—lots of red.
Constructed in 1970 during Nixon’s presidency, a game room with billiard and ping-pong tables was put on the third floor of the White House.
President Bill Clinton had a love for jogging, often disrupting traffic. During his first term, a jogging track was built around the driveway of the South grounds. It’s a quarter mile long.
A habit that was good for his health, President Eisenhower had a putting green installed outside the Oval Office with a small sand trap on one side. In 1996, a new practice green was placed on the south grounds. A few more commander-in-chiefs were fans of golfing including Ford, both Bush presidents, Clinton, Nixon and Ronald Reagan.