The White House is the official residence andworkplace of the President of the United States. It is one of the most famous buildings in the world, as it receives about 100,000 visitors every year. This article is written to celebrate November 1, 1800, which was the day John Adams became the first US president to live in the White House. Have a seat and learn ten facts about the White House that you have probably not heard of.
It All Started on November 1, 1800
This was the date when President John Adams, the 1st US president to live in the White House moved in. Before then, he was living in Tunnicliffe’s City hotel in Washington D.C. The White House was still unfinished when the President moved in, but the furniture from Adam’s former home was already brought in.
1779: John Adams (1735 – 1826) when Commissioner for the USA reviewing troops in France. He later became the 2nd President of the USA. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
Their new house as described by Abigail “was damp and cold,” and Abigail had to hang the clothes in the empty audience room (now the East room) because she felt it wasn’t appropriate to hang the president underwear outside. However, President John Adams and his first Lady only lived there for five months as Adams lost the next election to Thomas Jefferson.
No Electricity in the White House for Almost 100 Years
It was not until the year 1891 before electricity was installed in the White House. Before this time, it was entirelyilluminated by gas lights. When electricity was introduced, people were scared to use it, for fear of electrocution.
Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) served as President of the United States from 1889 to 1893. (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Benjamin Harrison became the first ever President to make use of electricity in the White House. However, due to fear of getting electrocuted, he refused to operate the light switches.
How Big Is The White House?
The White House is 51.2 meters (168 feet) long and 152 inches (12.6 feet) wide. The fence of the White House covers 18 acres of land. There are 132 rooms which include one main Kitchen, one diet kitchen, one family kitchen, and 35 bathrooms.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – APRIL 22, 2018: An American flag flies over the south facade of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, seven staircases, and three elevators. The White House also houses a tennis court, a bowling alley, a movie theatre, a jogging track, and a swimming pool. It is said that it will take 300 gallons of white paint to cover just the residential part of the White House.
There Was Never an Official Name
In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt officially named The White House. Before that, the building had been frequently called various names including the “Executive Mansion,” the “President’s Mansion,” or the “President’s House.” The name was gotten from its color. The White House was painted white in a bid to cover the marks left after the hose was burned by British soldiers in the 1812 war.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919), who succeeded William McKinley after his assassination. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Every U.S. State had an executive house for its governor. This was why President Roosevelt decided to name it The White House to distinguish it as the official residence of the U.S. President.
Location, Location, Location
The White House is located along the banks of the Potomac River. It took much debate between the north and south representatives in 1780 before the location was chosen. In the end, it was President George Washington that selected the exact spot where The White House stands today.
Engraving depicting George Washington (1732-1799) an American politician, soldier and the first President of the United States, meeting with his generals. Dated 18th Century. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
The Washington D.C. location is said to symbolically link the White House to the U.S Capitol via Pennsylvania Avenue.
Abraham Lincoln’s Ghost Haunts the White House
Abraham Lincoln’s ghost is the most famous ghost known to hunt the White House. The first recorded story of Abraham Lincoln ghost was in 1903 by Jerry Smith who was a doorman in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, making his famous ‘Gettysburg Address’ speech at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery during the American Civil War. (Photo by Library Of Congress/Getty Images)
A few other persons including First Lady Grace Coolidge, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Queen Wilhelmina of Netherlands have also claimed to see Lincoln’s Ghost. Winston Churchill stopped staying in Lincoln’s former bedroom after he saw Lincoln’s ghost immediately after he had his bath.
Foreign Labor was Employed to Build the White House
The White House was built with the help of foreign labor. The workers majorly comprised of a lot of European artists and immigrant workers. Scottish masons, Irish brick workers, and Italian plaster workers also dominated the workforce.
A small replica of the White House inside the Bush Presidential Archives and Museum at Texas A&M University, in College Station, Texas on November 7, 2005. (Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images)
The payroll records also show that some of the builders were enslaved and free African Americans.
The Case of Attempted Murder in the White House
In 1994, a man named Francisco Martin Duran tried to kill President Bill Clinton when he fired 29 shots from an SKS rifle at the White House.
Bullet Gouge Shows In White House Fence Washington, DC. 10-31-1994 Bullet gouge in the fence at the front of the White House. Caused by one of the 29 rounds fired from an SKS rifle by Francisco Martin Duran on October 29, 1994. He was later convicted of attempting to assassinate President William Clinton and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Credit: Mark Reinstein (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Secret Service agents quickly apprehended him. At the time of the shooting, Clinton was watching a football match and was unharmed. Duran was later convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for attempting to assassinate President Bill Clinton.
Home to Several Deaths
Some people have died while they were living or working in the White House. About ten persons have died in the White House. The list below includes the names of all known to have died in the Executive Mansion.
The coffin of US President Warren G Harding (1865 – 1923) in the East Room of the White House, before his state funeral, Washington DC, August 1923. (Photo by FPG/Keystone View Company/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
- September 10, 1841 – First Lady Letitia Tyler
- July 9, 1850 – President Zachary Taylor
- February 20, 1859 – Willie Lincoln, Son of Abraham Lincoln
- December 15, 1873 – Fredrick Dent, First Lady Julia Grant’s Father
- October 25, 1892 – First lady Caroline Harrison
- August 6, 1914 – First Lady Ellen Wilson
- April 4, 1841– President William Henry Harrison
Renovation in the White House
In August 1984, the White House was rebuilt after the British army destroyed it during the War of 1812. The British Army burned the White House in a bid to retaliate the burning of Canada’s Parliament Buildings during the battle. The fire destroyed both the exterior and interior of the building. Its renovation was completed in 1817.
Construction equipment outside the White House during a major renovation. Dated 1950. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
However, in 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt ordered for a Major Renovation of the White House. During this renovation, electric lights replaced gas lights, a new elevator was installed, the East terrace was rebuilt, and the temporary office which was later called the West Wing was built.