White House has been referred to as the “President’s Palace” throughout history. It has witnessed countless decisions that changed the history of the whole country and it is the easiest recognizable construction in the world. It serves as residential as well as workplace for the President of the United States. The building has remained one of the exclusive and extraordinary constructions of the world that fascinates every human kind. Do you know that 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the formal address of the “White House”? In this blog, we have collected some interesting facts like this about the history of White House that may blow your mind and fabricate some value addition to your knowledge.
1. George Washington never lived there
Known as the ‘founding father’ of the United States, George Washington was the country’s first president and he never actually lived there. However, he approved the final design and location for the construction of the White House. Its cornerstone was laid on October 13, 1792. John Adams was the first US President who got a chance to live there. He moved into the White House with his wife Abigail in 1800.
2. The architect of the White House was not American
An Irish architect James Hoban designed the White House. He began his stateside career in Philadelphia in 1785 by contributing to the early growth and development of Washington D.C. The White House Historical Association maintains the legacy of Hoban by mentioning his name on one of the pillars of the White House
3. The White House is huge
According to the history of White House, it was the biggest building in the United States till the civil war took place in America. It consists of 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms along with 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators. The construction site is 168 feet long and 85 feet wide, 70 feet tall on the south side, and 60 feet 4 inches tall on the north side. The White House occupies a complete area of 18 acres.
4. It requires tons of paint
Just like maintaining other historical monuments, the White House requires tons of paint periodically to make it look fresh. The White House requires 570 gallons of white paint on annual basis in order to cover its external side. Moreover, 300 gallons of white paint needed for covering the residential area. At the time of renovation, in 1992, more than 30 layers of paint were removed from the exterior walls of the White House. However, now painting the whole house takes place annually, and it has to go through touch-ups occasionally.
5. It did not receive its official name till 1901
The White House has been the official residence of the U.S. president since 1800; however, officially it was not addressed as ‘The White House’. The government referred it as the ‘President Mansion’ or ‘President House’ till President Theodore Roosevelt used it on his stationary in 1901.
6. It was actually built by slaves
Famous for the pride of the United States, the White House was actually built by African-American slaves. In fact, Michele Obama expressed her gratitude towards slave workers that how it feels every day to wake up in a house built by slaves. The history of White House speaks about serious structural issues in it because several fire incidents took place in the 19th century.
7. Hidden swimming pool beneath press room
The White House has an exterior swimming pool in addition to an interior pool beneath the press room. Its indoor was opened in 1933 for use by President Franklin Roosevelt. There are other lesser-known rooms for example 42 seat movie theatre. Hillary Clinton even converted one sitting room into a music room so that her husband, Bill Clinton can play saxophone there.
8. There was no electricity for a longer time
The history of White House entails that it was lit by gas lights until 1891 when electricity was first installed there. Electric lighting was a new concept for inhabitants of the White House and President Benjamin Harrison was doubtful about the electric switches. He was worried that he would be shocked if he touched a light switch. Hence, he never touched any of them by himself.
9. It was torched by British soldiers
British soldiers invaded the White House in 1814, setting it aflame as a part of the war. The fire completely destroyed the interior and roof of the building and President James Madison had to take immediate action on it. He summoned the original designer of the house, James Hoban for the reconstruction purpose. The total work was completed in 1817 when President James Monroe had to move in.
10. The oval office is inspired by George Washington
As mentioned above, George Washington never lived in the White House however; the construction of the Oval Office and its shape is inspired by him. The other board members insisted the room should have rounded walls so that it would be feasible for formal meetings and gatherings. Today, no formal gatherings take place there.
11. The suffragists once picketed outside the White House for two years
In 1917, suffragists were the first picketers to protest outside the White House for two years over women’s right to vote to get the attention of President Woodrow Wilson. A group of women known as “the Silent Sentinels” began protesting outside of the White House gates. Alice Paul led the campaign for two years. The Protestants were repeatedly harassed, mistreated, and even beaten. Later on, women received the right to vote through the 19th Amendment.
12. There are twin White House structures in France and Ireland
Although the White House is considered to be a unique monument in the world, there are replicas of it in other places. After the inspiration of Thomas Jefferson, another structure of the White House was built in France. He spent significant time in France as the U.S. Minister Plenipotentiary. Moreover, when George Washington initiated a competition to find a replacement design for the White House, he found The Leinster House. It resembles the American monument of the White House.
Surprisingly, the White House is not just the home of the US President but also a common base for other administration-level activities. It has a chocolate shop, a florist shop, and a music hall as well. We hope you enjoyed reading about these amazing facts about the history of White House and made some valuable addition to your knowledge regarding the White House.