History of the Most Popular Fence in Americaence Dynamics knows there are all kinds of reasons why people build a fence at their homes. It can be for privacy, for decoration, or for safety. A fence serves many purposes. At the U.S.’s most notable home, the fence is no doubt for safety.
This summer the White House is getting an upgrade to its fence. Crews are installing metal spikes to the top of the current fence. It’s a short-term effort to deter anyone from climbing over the top and getting onto the White House property.
Believe it or not, safety from people trespassing on the White House grounds is not the reason the first fence was built. According to the White House Historical Association, the first fence built around the White House was built in 1801. President Thomas Jefferson envisioned a garden on the South Grounds, so he had a post and rail fence built around the White House to keep livestock from grazing in the garden. According to the Historical Association, that was more of a wall built into a ditch. It wasn’t until 1873, that President Ulysses Grant had an iron fence installed to control large crowds that gathered for the New Year’s Day reception and other occasions. In 1937, the iron fence that had been constructed in 1873 was removed and replaced by a steel fence with tall bronze spears. Those spikes remained until 1942, when they were taken to a junkyard as part of a World War II scrap metal drive.
There have been a few renovations of the White House fence since then, but the last major one was in 1965. The fence was reset into a new foundation. That is until, possibly, next year. In 2016, a permanent solution to White House security is expected. What that solution is, right now no one really knows. One thing is for sure; it would be hard to imagine the White House without a fence at all. In terms of tradition, it has now been around, in some form, for 214 years.
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