A look into US Vice President Kamala Harris's new official residence

It is a 128-year-old house on a 72-acre plot about 2 miles from the White House.

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It was originally intended for the superintendent of the US Naval Observatory.
Where is that? Is it a tourist spot?
It very well should be but it is not open to the public. It’s the designated home for the US vice president in Washington DC.

Oh sweet! So that is Kamala and Doug’s new crib, eh?
Precisely. It is a 128-year-old house on a 72-acre plot about 2 miles from the White House, but nowhere as famous as the latter.


What is the observatory connection?
It was originally intended for the superintendent of the US Naval Observatory, a scientific agency. Then, in the 1920s and for five decades after, it was the residence for the chiefs of naval operations, after which it became the official residence for the past seven vice presidents.

So where did the vice presidents live before that?
Well, they either lived in their own homes or in hotels.

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Four years in a hotel?
That’s rather strange, right? Calvin Coolidge, who was V-P from 1921-23, lived in a hotel during his tenure. He mentioned in his autobiography that an official residence should be provided for the vice president and that the position “should have a settled and permanent habitation...”

The poor chap.
Indeed. Finally, after spending thousands of dollars on security measures at the private homes of vice presidents — for instance, $245,000 on Spiro T Agnew’s home — the US Congress designated Number One Observatory Circle as “the official temporary residence” of the vice president in 1974.

Rather curious it took so long.
Presidential historian Mike Purdy would agree. He said it was a shame they waited for so long, but added that “in some ways, that is reflective of the insignificant role of the vice presidency as it was seen for so many years”.
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Lucky for Kamala that they sorted that out!
Oh definitely. Observers say the new residents are likely to leave their own mark on the residence. It will be particularly interesting to see Doug Emhoff take on a role that has traditionally involved a lot of hosting and decorating for the holidays, among others.

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