A White House chef grills chicken in the west court, in 2009. (White House - Pete Souza)


A drive from the West Wing allows direct access to the ground floor by way of open courts or areaways on the north side of the White House on either side of the North portico. The courts are fully below grade and so allow both the north side ground floor rooms to have windows but also the basement rooms under the north drive. The large doors allow trucks to deliver food and other supplies directly to the ground floor and to remove trash and furniture.

There are no courts on the south side of the mansion because the ground naturally slopes away on that that side, allowing all the rooms on the south side to have windows above grade.



More Images

A contractor prepares flowers at the east tradesmen's entrance in 2010. (White House - Pete Souza)

West court in 1992, during the repainting work (HABS)

Diagram of west court from 1992 (HABS)

West court in 1992, during the repainting work (HABS)

Gerald Ford's daughter Susan washing her car in the west court, circa 1975 (Ford Library)

Entrance to the Palm Room in 1965 (Life)

The east court in 1952 (Truman Library)

Isaac Avery and Chief Usher Russel Muir with bluefish from Chesapeake Bay, 1936 (Library of Congress - Harris & Ewing)

Thankgiving turkey (and pen) in the court in 1920 (Library of Congress - Herbert A French)

The court in 1914 (Library of Congress)

The North Portico in 1913, revealing the court doors (Library of Congress)

A carriage stands by in the old west court in 1904 (Library of Congress - Waldon Fawcett)

Visitors paying their respects to incoming president Benjamin Harrison exiting an East Room window
by a temporary bridge over one court (Library of Congress)