WASHINGTON -- President-elect Barack Obama arrived Thursday at Blair House, where he and his family will be staying until they move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next week.
Obama's motorcade passed rows of bleachers set up for next week's inauguration as he arrived at Blair House, which is adjacent to the White House. Obama had asked to stay there, but the Bush administration said the house was unavailable. Earlier this month Obama and his family moved from Chicago to the Hay-Adams Hotel near the White House.
Obama's motorcade pulled up on a pedestrian street on the north side of the White House that is normally closed to traffic. The motorcade had come from his transition office to the Blair House. Aides said the entire family has moved to its new quarters.
Blair House is the government's official guest residence. It is rich in history, luxurious in appointment and -- after the departure of former Australian Prime Minister John Howard -- finally vacant for Obama and his family to move in.
Blair House is actually four interconnected townhouses forming a complex of more than 100 rooms that is larger than the White House at 70,000 square feet. The original Blair House was built around 1824 by Dr. Joseph Lovell, the first U.S. surgeon general, and purchased by newspaper publisher Francis Preston Blair, a close friend of President Andrew Jackson and part of his "Kitchen Cabinet."