takes over the Oval Office, they’ve got to make some big, impactful decisions.
Among them, what desk to use in their new seat of power?
Supposedly Johnson himself would occasionally sit behind it, waiting to scare unsuspecting visitors. The Wilson Desk This is the desk that tricked “Tricky” Dick Nixon, who chose to make it the centerpiece of the Oval Office under the belief that it had once been used by a respected predecessor: Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States.
The Wilson Desk came to Nixon after having been purchased in the late 1800s to decorate the Vice President’s chambers in the Capitol Building.
There have only ever been six desks to pass through this room, each chosen by the president who must use it for business that could change the world.
Whether it was used for one term or one century, every one of the double-wide, two-pillar Oval Office desks has a compelling story. Bush rose to the presidency in 1989, he brought his beloved desk with him to the Oval Office proper, sending its predecessor, the Resolute Desk (see below) into storage for the duration of his single term in office.
This new desk was a darkly stained, two-pillar desk.
The desk was moved from Roosevelt’s proto-Oval Office when President William Taft came into office and expanded the Executive Building, creating the first Oval Office as we know it today.Given its rather loud desktop, it’s little wonder that the Johnson Desk only lasted during his presidency, being replaced when Richard Nixon succeeded Johnson.The desk was eventually moved to the Oval Office replica in Johnson’s presidential library.The Roosevelt Desk was saved, but after the fire, it was time for a change.In 1930, the Grand Rapids Furniture Manufacturer’s Association donated a brand new desk to Hoover, who had it installed in his rebuilt Oval Office.When Nixon took office, he had the desk moved into the Oval Office, using it as a feature of his “Silent Majority” speech on the Vietnam War, in which he invoked Woodrow Wilson’s words about World War I.However, as a White House curator discovered, it was called the Wilson Desk because it was said to have been used by Henry Wilson, 18th Vice President of the United States. Nixon was informed of the mix-up but didn’t seem to care, and continued using the desk.The imposing mahogany desk shared the popular two-pedestal-style of many others, with drawers on either side.The desk remained in the Capitol Building through the terms of 15 separate Vice Presidents, including Nixon himself, who clearly took a liking to it.Once the Watergate scandal forced Nixon out of office, and Gerald Ford took over, the desk remained in the Oval Office throughout Ford’s time as president. The Roosevelt Desk The Theodore Roosevelt Desk was not only the first desk to sit in the Oval Office, but it has also been used by more presidents than any other Oval Office desk, with seven Ci C’s choosing it as their workstation.When Ford left office, the desk was returned to the Vice President’s office in the Capitol Building where it is still in use. As the name implies, the desk was built in 1903 for President Theodore Roosevelt, the driving force behind the creation of the White House’s West Wing.