Instead of hosting Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari at the White House next week, US President Barack Obama has opted for the quieter Blair House, a guest house reserved for respected world leaders.
Buhari will fly out to the United States Sunday night for a four-day official visit to Washington DC commencing Monday July 20, at Obama’s behest. According to the US State Department, an invitation from the President of the United States to occupy this historic 190-year-old residence is an honour of the highest regard.
Located across from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, Blair House has served as the President’s Guest House since its purchase by the U.S. government in World War II. Under the stewardship of the Department of State, it welcomes visiting heads of state, ambassadors, and other notables in gracious, secure surroundings in the heart of the nation’s capital.
Built as a private home in 1824, Blair House has played an important role in nearly 190 years of American political, diplomatic and cultural history—from Andrew Jackson’s “Kitchen Cabinet,” to private chats with Abraham Lincoln, to Harry S. Truman’s crucial leadership as World War II ended and the Cold War began. Now, as then, U.S. Presidents continue to rely on Blair House as a significant foreign policy tool.
Deeply ingrained in the US history, Blair house has served as a guest house for the president for over 190 years, some of the dignitaries hosted at the guest house include, the late Nelson Mandela, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Charles De Gaulle, Queen of England.
Blair House is now a complex of four connected townhouses, including the original Blair House. During the 1980s, Blair House underwent significant restorations, with a new wing added on the north. An adjacent townhouse, Trowbridge House, is being renovated to serve as an official guest residence for former U.S. presidents while in the capital. The combined square footage of the four adjacent townhouses exceeds 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2), making it larger than the White House (with approximately 55,000 square feet). With 119 rooms, the Blair House includes several conference rooms and sitting rooms, 9 staff bedrooms, 4 dining rooms, 14 guest bedrooms, 35 bathrooms, kitchens, laundry and dry cleaning facilities, a fitness room, a hair salon and a flower shop.
See images of the opulence Buhari will enjoy; where he would likely eat, sleep and jaw-jaw with Obama. By the way, the Blair House has secret tunnels for security escape.