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Humpday History Highlight

By Wyatt Earp | November 10, 2010

This story comes from the book “.” Its a wealth of little-known facts about the presidency, including this one, which explains the origin of the Oval Office:

It’s the most famous room in the White House. Perhaps in the world. Decisions made in the Oval Office impact everyone on the globe. But how did the president’s office come to be an oval?

It all has to do with how George Washington liked to greet people.

Upon becoming president, George Washington moved into a house in Philadelphia, then serving as the nation’s capital. Washington liked to hold formal receptions where guests gathered in a circle to meet him. He replaced the square corners of two rooms in the house with semicircular walls to make them more suitable for these “levees.” When James Hoban designed the White House, he catered to Washington’s desires by including an oval drawing room, the Blue Room.

And now you know.

Also, on this day in 1775, the United States Marine Corps was born. Happy birthday, Marines!

Topics: HHH | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Humpday History Highlight”

  1. fozzy Says:
    November 10th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Sounds like the legend of King Arthur, where the knights would meet at a round table so nobody would have a place of superiority at the head of the table. Very democratic.

  2. Old NFO Says:
    November 10th, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Nice piece… I didn’t know that! And yeah, we’ll give the Marines a ride (as usual) :-) Semper Fi folks!

  3. dragonlady474 Says:
    November 10th, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Interesting tidbit, and Happy Birthday Marines!

  4. Jon Brooks Says:
    November 10th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Oval or elliptical rooms are quite the room type for ease dropping on conversations also. The focal points of the room along the major axis concentrate sound similar to a parabolic mirror. Kings would have a chamber for negotiations and then tell the opposing parties to go sit over there to discuss in private if they must and then someone with good hearing standing at the other focal point could relay the conversations to the other party. That usually required smooth walls or solid stone so I wonder if it would have worked in the oval office also.

    Happy B’day and Semper Fi to all fellow jarheads. Jan 69 thru Jan 71 Hdqtr Co. Hdqtr Btln. 5th Mar Div.

  5. Kim Says:
    November 11th, 2010 at 8:44 am


    Muscles Are Required. Intelligence Not Expected.

    Love ya jarheads!

  6. Ingineer66 Says:
    November 11th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Happy Birthday Marines. My son had a cake ceremony and then got released for the long weekend. We are flying down tonight to meet up with him at our daughters place in San Diego. My son in law got his weekend cut short because they had to get ready for something important to the Corps or our Nation. The Corps is funny that way.

  7. Wyatt Earp Says:
    November 11th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Fozzy – And very Washington, it would seem.

    Old NFO – Always have to take a shot, don’t you. :)

    DL474 – Agreed.

    Jon – Didn’t know that. Now I have to remodel my house.

    Kim – Well played, ma’am!

    Ingineer66 – Please give them both my thanks.

  8. Rick Says:
    November 11th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks for the history lesson