Construction of the south and east wings, July 1, 1874. With the State Department wing nearing completion, work began on the foundations for the Navy, east wing.
(National Archives Records Administration)

Next door to the White House, the Old Executive Office Building (OEOB) commands a unique position in both our national history and architectural heritage. Designed by Supervising Architect of the Treasury, Alfred B. Mullett, it was built from 1871 to 1888 to house the growing staffs of the State, War, and Navy Departments, and is considered one of the best examples of French Second Empire architecture in the country. In bold contrast to many of the somber classical revival buildings in Washington, the OEOB's flamboyant style epitomizes the optimism and exuberance of the post-Civil War period.

The War Department's north wing dressed up for the 4th of July,ca. 1890. (Library of Congress)