Photograph by Fred Maroon

The Nixon Years

The basement door of the
infamous Watergate building,
through which the burglars
gained access, and then taped
open, to be discovered later by a
custodian. February 22, 1974.

RealAudio: The Door

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It seems highly unlikely that this nondescript door in a basement garage of the Watergate Hotel and Office complex would be the critical element that started the wheels in motion that would ultimately bring down the President of the United States.  The "Watergate burglars" had taped the door open as they went about their illegitimate business in the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee on the sixth floor.  Frank Wills, a security guard on his rounds for General Security Services, Inc., removed the tape, only to find later that the door had been retaped.  At 1:52 am on the morning of Saturday, June  17, 1972, he sounded the alarm that resulted in the apprehension of the five burglars. 

This photograph, taken after the Watergate hearings, gained eerie plausibility when a custodian unexpectedly opened the door as I was shooting. 

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