With the swearing in of a new president, comes focus on his new family moving into the the white house, and the old family exiting. The White House is a symbol of America and where the first family will reside during their term. A few TV shows have given us a glimpse inside the White House, but there are a lot of things associated with this symbol of the American people that many are not aware of. As you read this article, see what new things you can learn about the White House.
1. There are two building in the world that greatly resemble the White House. The Leinster House in Ireland, which is the home of the Irish Parliament. The other twin is found in France. The Chateau de Rastignac, which was constructed in 1817.
2. Historic payroll documents prove that slaves helped to build the White House. Some were freed, and some were still under ownership. They worked alongside white laborers to lay the homes foundation, and brick work.
3. European laborers also worked in helping to build the home. Scottish laborers helped to build the sandstone walls. Irish and Italian laborers help to lay bricks and are greatly responsible for the decorative artisan work on the portico’s and around the building.
4. President George Washington never lived in the White House. He did chose the plan by James Hoban for the home to be constructed by, but it was not finished during his presidential term. President John Q. Adams and his wife were the first to move into the home, although it was not completely finished at that time either.
5. The White House was the largest home in America for many years. It was only after the Civil War was over and the rise of Gilead Mansions that larger homes were built.
6. In 1929 a major electrical fire destroyed the majority of the west wing and all of the rooms had to be gutted and renovated, except for the third floor.
7. The White House was not originally built handicapped accessible. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved in, he had the home renovated to accommodate his wheelchair, and added a heated indoor pool to assist with his physical therapy.
8. In 1948 under the direction of President Truman major renovation work took place to replace the then current wood beams with metal beams to provide support and add structure. The Truman family moved into the Blair House across the street during this time.
9. The White House is known by many names such as: President’s Castle, President’s Palace, Executive Mansion, and President’s House. The name White House was adopted and made official in 1901 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
10. The White House is constructed out a gray-colored sandstone. It was not painted white until after the renovations due to the fiery attack by the British. It takes 570 gallons of white paint to cover the entire White House.
Sources: Jackie Craven – Architecture Guide