Construction of the White House

The White House, located in the new American capital city of Washington, was built between 1792 and 1800. It was designed by James Hoban, an Irish-born architect.

John Adams (America's second President) and his wife (Abigail) moved into the unfinished mansion in 1800. They were the first people to live in the new "President's House."

Michelle Obama aptly describes this home as the "People's House."

This is really what the White House is all about. It’s the “People’s House.” It’s a place that is steeped in history, but it’s also a place where everyone should feel welcome. And that's why my husband and I have made it our mission to open up the house to as many people as we can.

Michelle and her family lived in the White House between January of 2009 and January of 2017.

The White House Curator tells us that George Washington selected the spot for the new home:

Our first president, George Washington, selected the site for the White House in 1791.

The cornerstone was laid in 1792 and a competition design submitted by Irish-born architect James Hoban was chosen. After eight years of construction, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved into the unfinished house in 1800.

During the War of 1812, the British set fire to the President’s House in 1814. James Hoban was appointed to rebuild the house, and President James Monroe moved into the building in 1817.

During Monroe’s administration, the South Portico was constructed in 1824, and Andrew Jackson oversaw the addition of the North Portico in 1829.

During the late 19th century, various proposals were made to significantly expand the President’s House or to build an entirely new house for the president, but these plans were never realized.

What are some interesting facts about the “People’s House” in which the First Family lives? The White House Curator provides these interesting details:

There are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 levels in the Residence. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators.

At various times in history, the White House has been known as the “President's Palace,” the “President's House,” and the “Executive Mansion.” President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.

Presidential Firsts while in office... President James Polk (1845-49) was the first President to have his photograph taken... President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09) was not only the first President to ride in an automobile, but also the first President to travel outside the country when he visited Panama... President Franklin Roosevelt (1933-45) was the first President to ride in an airplane.

The White House kitchen is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors d'oeuvres to more than 1,000.

The White House requires 570 gallons of paint to cover its outside surface.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 03, 2017

Updated Last Revision: Sep 01, 2017

Media Credits

White House Historical Association, White House Historical Association

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"Construction of the White House" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 03, 2017. Feb 17, 2020.
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