Originally used as the gateway to the White House for the First Family and the public, the Entrance Hall and Cross Hall were at the center of architect James Hoban’s plan for the White House.

In 1835 President Andrew Jackson received a gift of a 1,400 lb. wheel of cheese and placed it in the Entrance Hall for the public. Crowds arrived in droves, and guests trampled cheese crumbs into the carpet. The Hall smelled for weeks. In 1841 the public passed through the Entrance Hall for a much more somber purpose: to view the body of President William Henry Harrison who died after only a month in office. The Entrance Hall still serves as the official entrance for state visitors.