Women’s History Month: A Special Home!

Number One Observatory Circle
The residence of the Vice President

Kamala Harris made history as the first woman and first person of color to be elected Vice President of the United States. You have probably seen many photographs of the White House, where the presidents live with their families. But where do Vice Presidents live?

Since 1977, the Vice President has lived on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory at Number One Observatory Circle. The house was built in 1893. Throughout history, Vice Presidents had lived in their own homes. It became expensive to provide security and keep the homes safe. In 1974, Congress agreed to do repairs to the house and make it the home for the Vice President.

Walter Mondale was the first Vice President to live in the home. It has also been the residence for the families of Vice Presidents Bush, Quayle, Gore, Cheney, Biden, and Pence—and now Harris. Even though Vice Presidents welcome guests to the home, scientists still use the Naval Observatory to observe the sun, moon, planets, and stars. They publish the data they gather from the Observatory.

Vice President Harris will have an office in the West Wing of the White House along with an office known as the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office. The Ceremonial Office is used for meetings and press interviews. The office has a special desk that was first used by Theodore Roosevelt in 1902. Several Presidents have used the desk, but it was placed in storage from 1929 until 1945. President Truman took the desk out of storage, and Vice President Johnson used it. Since the 1940s, everyone who has used the desk has signed the inside of the top drawer.

What Do You Think? Why does the Vice President need their own home and office? What makes these places special?

Photo Credit: Hansrad Collection/Alamy Stock Photo