Harry S Truman Building
The Harry S. Truman Building is the headquarters of the United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

. It is located in the national capital of Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....


The Truman Building is located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood at 2201 C Street, NW, bounded by C Street to the south, E Street, D Street, and Virginia Avenue
Virginia Avenue
Virginia Avenue is a street in the Northwest, Southwest, and Southeast quadrants of Washington, D.C. Like other state-named streets in Washington, it diagonally crosses the grid pattern formed by lettered and numbered streets....

 to the north, 21st Street to the east, and 23rd Street to the west. It is located to the west of Edward J. Kelly Park and north of the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 building and the National Mall
National Mall
The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Mall is a unit of the National Park Service , and is administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit...


The Truman Building houses the office of the United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

, a post currently held by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...



During the early 1930s, the National Capital Park and Planning Commission
National Capital Planning Commission
The National Capital Planning Commission is a U.S. government agency that provides planning guidance for Washington, D.C. and the surrounding National Capital Region...

 sought to develop the section of the District of Columbia known as Foggy Bottom
Foggy Bottom
Foggy Bottom is one of the oldest late 18th and 19th-century neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. The area is thought to have received the name because its riverside location made it susceptible to concentrations of fog and industrial smoke, an atmospheric trait that did not prevent the neighborhood...

, located between C, E, Eighteenth, and Twenty-third streets. Leading up to World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the expanding Department of War
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

, now known as the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

, occupied several different buildings on the mall, making the need for a new building to consolidate operations a high priority. It was always intended to construct the building in two phases, and the Foggy Bottom site was chosen because it was large enough to accommodate both.

Gilbert Stanley Underwood
Gilbert Stanley Underwood
Gilbert Stanley Underwood was an American architect best known for his National Park lodges. Born in 1890, Underwood received his B.A. from Yale in 1920 and a M.A. from Harvard in 1923. After opening an office in Los Angeles that year, he became associated with Daniel Ray Hull of the National...

 and William Dewey Foster
William Dewey Foster
William Dewey Foster was an American architect.Foster received his training from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During the 1910s and 1920s, he worked as a draftsman for a number of architectural firms before going into private practice...

 won the contract for the War Department building. They designed the building during 1938-1939 and construction began in 1940. The Public Buildings Administration of the Federal Works Agency
Federal Works Agency
The Federal Works Agency was an independent agency of the Federal government of the United States which administered a number of public construction, building maintenance, and public works relief functions and laws from 1939 to 1949...

, which inherited oversight responsibility for the federal buildings program from the U.S. Treasury Department in 1939, completed the first phase of the building in 1941.

During the design process, several agencies expressed concern that the War Department had already expanded beyond the capacity of the building. These concerns turned out to be correct; while some offices of the War Department moved into the building for a few years, the building never became the War Department headquarters. By the time construction was complete, the War Department had already outgrown the building. Congress appropriated funds for construction of the Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

 early in 1941, the same year the first phase of the building was completed. Instead, the structure was used for the Department of State.

Although the original portion of the building is still commonly referred to as the War Department Building, it became home to the State Department by the late 1940s. World War II spurred the growth of this department as well. However, the planned expansion was delayed until Congress allocated funds for the addition in 1955.
Harley, Probst Associates, a joint venture between Harley, Ellington, and Day of Detroit and Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White of Chicago, won the contract for the design in 1956. The addition, known as the State Department Extension, was completed in 1960 and dedicated in 1961. The original building was informally called "Old State" with the addition identified as "New State".

In September 2000, the State Department building (previously called the Main State Building, and often called by metonym "Foggy Bottom") was named in honor of President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...


Currently, more than 8,000 employees work in the Truman Building. The building houses over 1500000 square feet (139,354.6 m²) of usable space, the corridors take up over 267000 square feet (24,805.1 m²), and the roof area is about 7 acres (28,328 m²). There are 43 elevators, over 4,000 windows, and about 34,000 fluorescent light
Fluorescent lamp
A fluorescent lamp or fluorescent tube is a gas-discharge lamp that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor. The excited mercury atoms produce short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor to fluoresce, producing visible light. A fluorescent lamp converts electrical power into useful...

 fixtures that provide interior illumination.

The building is currently being renovated under a 12 year plan to modernize the structure.


The original portion of the building, known as the War Department Building, is an example of the Stripped Classical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 architectural style with Art Moderne elements. The steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

-framed building is clad in limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 and rises eight stories above the basement and sub-basement. Because it was designed to be expanded at a later date, it was deliberately asymmetrical. A central spine connects a U-shaped configuration to the east with an E-shaped configuration to the west.

The horizontal delineations of the facade reflect the classical precedents of the architectural style. Cornices and pink granite stringcourses create a base-shaft-capital system. The wings create a series of interior courtyard
A court or courtyard is an enclosed area, often a space enclosed by a building that is open to the sky. These areas in inns and public buildings were often the primary meeting places for some purposes, leading to the other meanings of court....

s. The interior courtyard walls are clad in dark granite, emphasizing the transition from base to shaft.

The construction of the State Department Extension, completed in 1960, is reinforced concrete and was designed in the International style. Buff colored limestone cladding helps to create a cohesive combination of the two buildings. With the completion of the extension, the building became second to the Pentagon in the number of offices that it houses. Since its completion, access to the main ceremonial entrance and lobby is via the south elevation. The entrance is located off-center toward the west end of the building and is set back to frame a forecourt. The court is paved with a combination of gray and red granite. At either side of the forecourt, a limestone belt course runs the full width of the elevation above the basement and second stories. Limestone piers span the first and second stories.

The East Lobby of the original building is a two-story rectangular space surrounded by a screen of paired piers. Four large pendant light
Pendant light
A pendant light, sometimes called a drop or suspender, is a lone light fixture that hangs from the ceiling usually suspended by a cord, chain, or metal rod. Pendant lights are often used in multiples, hung in a straight line over kitchen countertops and dinette sets or sometimes in bathrooms. ...

s, which are original, are the primary light source. The floors are terrazzo
Terrazzo is a composite material poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass or other suitable chips, sprinkled or unsprinkled, and poured with a binder that is cementitious, chemical or a combination of both...

 and the walls are travertine
Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, and cream-colored varieties. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot...

. Above the security barriers at the rear of the lobby is a mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

 by Kindred McLeary
Kindred McLeary
Kindred McLeary was an American architect, artist and educator.He studied architecture at the University of Texas and earned his degree in 1927. While teaching at the University of Texas the following year, McLeary entered one of his paintings, Cotton, in a national art exhibit at the Witte...

 entitled The Defense of Human Freedoms, which depicts the five freedoms flanked at either end of the mural by their defenders, the American military. Access to the auditorium is via the second floor. The Dean Acheson
Dean Acheson
Dean Gooderham Acheson was an American statesman and lawyer. As United States Secretary of State in the administration of President Harry S. Truman from 1949 to 1953, he played a central role in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War...

 Auditorium extends upward from the first through the third stories. The stage spans the full east wall of the room. The walls on either side are clad in burled California redwood paneling. The Loy Henderson Conference Room is two stories tall. The walls are Verde Antique marble with brass and bronze accents. A speakers' platform, stepped up at the center, is set along the west wall.

In the lobby of the fifth floor executive office suite is a mural by James McCreery entitled Liberty or Death
Give me Liberty, or give me Death!
"Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!" is a quotation attributed to Patrick Henry from a speech he made to the Virginia Convention. It was given on March 23, 1775, at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, and is credited with having swung the balance in convincing the Virginia House of Burgesses...

: Don't Tread on Me
Gadsden flag
The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the snake is the legend "DONT TREAD ON ME." The flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was also used by the...

. The work is an allegory of the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, including maps, cannon and other armament, and flags of the era. The eastern section of the fifth floor contains executive office suites for department heads and their staffs. The west side of the corridor includes staff offices and the general council room. The east side of the corridor includes office suites originally designated for the secretary of war and chief of staff.

The south courtyard of the State Department Building features a sculpture by Marshall M. Fredericks entitled The Expanding Universe, which includes a circular fountain and an architectural bronze statue. A treaty room and the ceremonial office of the Secretary of State is on the seventh floor. Diplomatic reception rooms were installed on the eighth floor during the 1980s as reproductions of early American architecture. They are furnished with eighteenth-century antique furnishings and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artwork.

See also

  • Herbert C. Hoover Building
    Herbert C. Hoover Building
    The Herbert C. Hoover Building is the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the United States Department of Commerce.The building is located at 1401 Constitution Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C., on the block bounded by Constitution Avenue NW to the south, Pennsylvania Avenue NW to the north, 15th...

  • Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building
    Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building
    Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building is the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the United States Department of Justice.The building is located at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, on a trapezoidal lot on the block bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue to the north, Constitution Avenue to the south,...

  • Treasury Building
    Treasury Building (Washington, D.C.)
    The Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. is a National Historic Landmark building which is the headquarters of the United States Department of the Treasury....

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Administration Building
    U.S. Department of Agriculture Administration Building
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture Administration Building, also known as the Jamie L. Whitten Building, houses the administrative offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. The Administration Building projects into the National Mall from the larger U.S...

  • Ralph J. Bunche Library
    Ralph J. Bunche Library
    The Ralph J. Bunche Library, formerly the State Department Library, is the oldest Federal Government library in the United States. The library is currently located in room 3239 of the Harry S Truman Building.-Purpose:...

External links

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