It’s grandiose, painted white and under tight security — but it’s not The White House.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will call the vice president’s residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory home for the next four years.
The home at Number One Observatory Circle — built in 1893 but officially designated as the temporary home for the second in command in 1974 — sits on a 72-acre plot of land about two miles from the White House.
Designed by Washington architect Leon E. Dessez, the home spans 9,000 square feet and has a pool, library, basement kitchen and several bedrooms, according to the New York Times.
It was originally built for the superintendent of the Naval Observatory but became home to the chief of naval operations in 1923, The White House’s website states.
At that time, vice presidents were living in their own homes, but the cost to outfit the properties with the proper security detail “grew substantially over the years,” the website states.
In 1974, Congress agreed to refurbish and secure the home at Number One Observatory Circle — a Queen Anne-style house — as the official residence of the vice president.
“It was a very interesting situation that the second most powerful person in the United States of America, one of the most powerful people in the world, did not have a designated temporary home,” Charles Denyer, the author of “Number One Observatory Circle,” told The New York Times.
Then-Vice President Gerald Ford did not use the home in 1974, as he had taken over as president following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, The White House’s website states.
Ford’s vice president, Nelson Rockefeller, had a personal home and only used Number One Observatory Circle for entertaining.
Three years passed and it was finally used as a home by Vice President Walter Mondale. Every vice president since then has lived there and has hosted foreign leaders, dignitaries and other leaders.
The Naval Observatory is not open to the public but it is still in operation.
Here are some photos of the vice president’s residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory over the years, including a 2012 image of Biden’s dog, Champ, who has now made it to the White House.