A Special White House Tour
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31, 1991 Daily News
SERVING THE SAN FERNANDO AND NEIGHBORING VALLEYS
A special 'White House' tour
Nancy Reagan showed pupils from Vista Fundamental Elementary a White House model Wednesday at the Reagan Library
Youngsters visit Reagan Library
By Jim Tranquada
Daily News Staff Wore
SIMI VALLEY — An excited class of 'fourth-graders got a personally guided "'White House" tour Wednesday from Nancy Reagan as the former first lady got dedication festivities started for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
Both Reagan and the 60-foot-long, fully furnished scale model of the Executive Mansion — complete with a ringing telephone on the president's Oval Office desk, — drew rave reviews from the pupils of nearby Vista Fundamental Elementary School.
"This was the funnest day of my life." said 9-year-old Brandon Byer. "I cannot believe I shook her hand and hugged her. It was just a thrill."
The presentation of the model White House in the auditorium of the $40 million library was the first in a series of events that will culminate Monday with the formal dedication of the mission-style facility, 'perched on a hilltop between Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks.
Work crews battled gusty Santa Ana winds Wednesday while erecting a stage and bleachers for a crowd of 4,200 people — including the five living U.S. presidents —who have been invited to Monday's formal dedication ceremony.
Inside the library Wednesday. Nancy
See REAGAN / Pg 8
Clint Willard, 8 looks over the model of the White House displayed at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.
REAGAN / From Page 1
Reagan acted as a tour guide as the scale model of the White House was displayed.
Picked for the tour because the mother of one pupil is a secretary at the library, the carefully dressed fourth-graders oohed and aahed when Reagan ushered them in to see the massive model.
Thirty years and $800,000 in the making, the cutaway model created by John and Jan Zweifel of Orlando, Fla., is a painstaking re-production of the Reagan era White House, down to the monogrammed "RR" pillow on the president's bed.
"All the clocks are set to D.C. time; the telephones ring; the TV sets all work, and smoke comes out of the chimney," said John Zweifel. "We are trying to create the experience that you're really there."
The Zweifels built and paid for the model — which includes the central mansion and the cast and west wings constructed on a scale of I inch to I foot — with the assistance of volunteers and donations.
As dozens of cameras flashed. the former first lady — wearing a green and black houndstooth jacket, a black skirt and black pumps — offered glimpses of White House life as she identified each room, including the private living quarters on the second floor.
"If we had a free night, we had - our dinner on trays in front of the e television," she said, pointing to the president's study where a tiny television flickered in a cabinet e placed against the far wall.
Impressed by the Zweifels' reproduction of the Rose Garden outside the Oval Office, one pupil 3 asked if the Reagans had done their own yardwork.
"No," Reagan said with a laugh. I "We had wonderful people who f did the gardening. and I appreciated it."
Reagan set the children giggling - when. in pointing out the East , Room, she told how she literally fell for pianist Vladimir Horowitz during a 1986 performance at the While House.
"They set up the stage and two I little chairs at the end of the stage for Mi.. Horowitz and myself. I was at the and and all I did was shift my legs and I went right over r the side," she said.
"Everyone was rushing around, but I thought I did it rather grace-, fully," she said. "My husband told me, 'Honey, I told you not to do that unless things weren't going well.'"
After Reagan left in a flurry of hugs, handshakes and picture taking. fourth-grader Anthony Savas was almost speechless when asked what he thought of the tour.
"Neat," he said, beaming."Very, very neat. She's nice."