Buhari Visit to U.S: What You Must Know About 191-yr-old Blair House
The Blair House will be the official residence of President Muhammadu Buhari during his official visit to the the United States of America.
He is the first Nigerian president and also the first from West Africa to stay in the house after an invitation from the U.S President. Vanguard Online runs the history of the House.
Blair House has served as the President’s Guest House since its purchase by the U.S. government in World War II. Under the stewardship of the Department of State, it welcomes visiting heads of state, ambassadors, and other notables in gracious, secure surroundings in the heart of the nation’s capital.The Blair House is situated on 1651–1653 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., opposite the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, off the corner of Lafayette Park.
Built as a private home in 1824, Blair House has played an important role in nearly 190 years of American political, diplomatic and cultural history—from Andrew Jackson’s “Kitchen Cabinet,” to private chats with Abraham Lincoln, to Harry S. Truman’s crucial leadership as World War II ended and the Cold War began. Now, as then, U.S. Presidents continue to rely on Blair House as a significant foreign policy tool.
The main house was built in 1824. The original brick house was built as a private home for Joseph Lovell, eighth Surgeon General of the United States Army. In 1836, it was acquired by Francis Preston Blair, a newspaper publisher and influential advisor to President Andrew Jackson. It would remain in his family for the following century.
In 1859, Blair built a house for his daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth Blair Lee and Captain Samuel Phillips Lee, at 1653 Pennsylvania Avenue, next door to Blair House at 1651 Pennsylvania Avenue. Captain Lee (later an admiral) was a grandson of Richard Henry Lee and third cousin of Robert E. Lee. The houses have since been combined, and the complex is sometimes referred to as the Blair-Lee House, though Blair House is the official name today
Furnished with fine antique furniture, objects and art, Blair House is carefully curated to portray the history, values, and hospitality of the nation. The home is maintained by the U.S. Department of State and the General Services Administration. Interior décor, furnishings and heritage collections are supported through financial and in-kind contributions to the Blair House Restoration Fund.
Founded in 1985, the Blair House Restoration Fund is a charitable, tax-exempt, non-partisan organization committed to raising private funds from across the nation to create and maintain the beautiful rooms, gardens, and amenities of Blair House.
Government funding supports the staffing and structural needs of Blair House, but it is the Fund’s responsibility to preserve and refresh the furnishings, décor, fine arts, and gardens. Through the generosity of American individuals, foundations, and corporations, the Fund is able to ensure Blair House remains a beautiful and welcoming home away from home for world leaders.
Blair House is now a complex of four connected townhouses, including the original Blair House. During the 1980s, Blair House underwent significant restorations, with a new wing added on the north. An adjacent townhouse, Trowbridge House, is being renovated to serve as an official guest residence for former U.S. presidents while in the capital. The combined square footage of the four adjacent townhouses exceeds 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2), making it larger than the White House (with approximately 55,000 square feet). With 119 rooms, the Blair House includes:
several conference rooms and sitting rooms
9 staff bedrooms
4 dining rooms
14 guest bedrooms
laundry and dry cleaning facilities
an exercise room
a hair salon
a flower shop
The Office of the Chief of Protocol manages the estate with a staff to wait on the needs of any guests at all times.