Joe Biden stayed at Blair House the night before his inauguration, honoring a decades-old tradition.
Blair House is the president’s official guest house, located steps from the White House.
It was built in 1824 as a family home and has been called the “world’s most exclusive hotel.”
The White House may be the most famous building along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, but there’s a lesser-known government residence next door that was an integral part of this week’s inauguration events.
Joe Biden accepted an invitation to stay at Blair House, the president’s official guest house, the night before his inauguration.
“As is customary, the White House offered use of the Blair House for Jan. 19th and it was accepted,” a State Department spokesperson told The Washington Post last week.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins reported that the offer was extended by “the State Department rather than the Trumps, who refuse to make contact with the incoming president and first lady.”
It is a longstanding tradition that presidents-elect stay at Blair House prior to being sworn in as commander-in-chief.
Take a look inside the historic residence, which has acted as the “world’s most exclusive hotel” since World War II, hosting everyone from presidents-elect to heads of state and royalty.
Brennan Weiss contributed to an earlier version of this article.
Blair House is the president’s official guest house where Joe Biden stayed prior to becoming the 46th president of the United States.
Only those who are officially invited by the president and State Department are permitted to stay at the residence.
It is located just across the street from the White House at 1651 Pennsylvania Ave and for decades has played an important role in the peaceful transfer of presidential power.
Since 1977, every president-elect has stayed at Blair House the night before they are sworn in as commander-in-chief, according to The Washington Post.
Source: The Washington Post
It is tradition that presidents-elect sign their name in the Blair House guest book and attend a church service on the day of their inauguration.
Source: The Washington Post
Blair House was originally built in 1824 as a home for Joseph Lovell, the first surgeon general of the US Army.
Source: Blair House
In 1836, Francis Blair, a close friend and supporter of President Andrew Jackson, bought the home for $6,500.
Source: US Department of State
The US government then purchased it in 1942 when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president.
Blair House has since served as the official guest house for foreign dignitaries, heads of state, and visiting delegations to Washington.
President Harry Truman stayed in the house for about four years during his presidency while the White House was being renovated.
Today, Blair House consisted of four interconnected townhouses containing more than 120 rooms. At 60,600 square feet, it is larger than the White House.
Blair House’s network of rooms include 14 guest suites, three formal dining rooms, two large conference rooms, and a library. There is also a beauty salon, exercise room, and laundry facility.
Throughout the home, the finishings are traditional and luxurious.
When a former president dies, family members are allowed to stay at the residence before the funeral.
The residence is officially managed by the State Department’s Office of the Chief of Protocol. Eighteen full-time staff members are responsible for cleaning and preparing the home for visitors.
Since major renovations in the 1980s, Blair House has been a frequent meeting place for bilateral negotiations and high-level talks.
A few notable guests include Queen Elizabeth II, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Visitors typically meet with a wide range of US officials at the home.
After a meeting at the White House in 2015, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping walked to Blair House for a private dinner.
A year later, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader of Myanmar who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.
When foreign dignitaries stay there, their countries’ flags are flown from the residence.
US officials frequently hosts dinners, official receptions, and parties at the residence, too.
Though few may know about the historical significance of Blair House, it has played a key role in American diplomacy over the years.
Read the original article on Insider