Why Is the White House White? 22 Crazy Facts You Never Knew About the White House

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The White House

The most recent president to take up residence in the White House was, of course, current President Joe Biden. But did you know that this neoclassical Federal-style mansion has been the residence for every president since John Adams?

The first stone was laid for the White House on Oct. 13, 1792. Although President George Washington commissioned construction, he never lived there. The massive building took eight years to construct. Our second president, John Adams, and his family, moved into the White House in 1800. In fact, Washington died in 1799 and never had the chance to see the building in its completion.

Today, the White House continues to be the official residence of the President of the United States and his or her family. It is also a living museum of American history. As First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy said during a televised tour of the White House in 1962, “This house will always grow and should.”

Who built the White House? Who owns it? How large is the building? In honor of Presidents' Day, we’ve got loads of details on the history of the White House, often fondly called “The People's House.”

Related: Celebrate Presidents' Day With 125 Quotes From George Washington

Where is the White House?

The White House is in Washington, D.C.

What state is the White House in?

The White House is in Washington, D.C., or the District of Columbia, which is not one of the 50 states. In 1790, Congress created this district from land that belonged to Virginia and Maryland.

Who built the White House?

Irish-born architect James Hoban designed the first White House. In 1792, Hoban won a national contest to be the architect to design the president’s residence. Hoban found inspiration from a palace in Dublin called Leinster House, which is part of the National Parliament.

When was the White House built?

Construction began in October 1792. However, even after President Adams and his family took residence in 1800, the building was not entirely completed.

Was the White House always called the White House?

The White House was officially named “The White House” by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901. Before that designation, it was referred to as the “President’s Palace,” “Executive Mansion” and the “President’s House.”

Related: 50 Presidential Trivia Questions and Answers To Show Your Love for American History

Why is the White House white?

When the building was first constructed, it was covered with a lime-based whitewash, simply as a means of protecting the porous stone from freezing. The whitewash was meant to weather and wash off, leaving the cracks and crevices filled. "The whitewash was never allowed to weather, but was refreshed periodically until the structure, at last, was painted with white lead paint in 1818," according to the White House Historical Association.

Who was the first president to live in the White House?

The second president, President John Adams, and his family, were the first family to take up residence in the White House on Nov. 1, 1800. Adams’ tenure there didn’t last long— Thomas Jefferson won the election in 1800.

Related: How Presidents Celebrate Halloween at the White House

How many rooms are in the White House?

The White House contains 132 rooms. This neoclassical Federal-style mansion also has 28 fireplaces, 412 doors, eight staircases, 147 windows, a bowling alley, a screening room, two pools and three elevators, according to the White House Historical Society.

How many bedrooms are in the White House?

The White House includes 16 family guest rooms.

How many square feet is the White House?

The White House is approximately 55,000 square feet, according to the White House Historical Association. The building is 168 feet long, 152 feet wide with porticoes. When it's time to give the White House a fresh coat of white paint, it takes 570 gallons to cover the exterior.

How many bathrooms are in the White House?

There are 35 bathrooms in the White House.

How many floors are in the White House?

The White House is six floors tall. According to the White House Historical Society, the kitchen has the capacity to serve 140 dinner guests and can host more than 1,000 people for hors d’oeuvres.

How much is the White House worth?

The White House was appraised for just under $400 million.

Related: How the White House Appraisal Is Calculated

Who lives in the White House?

The president and the president’s family live in the White House, but no other staff lives there.

Which president is pictured on United States paper currency that has the White House on the back?

Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States is on the $20 bill and on the other side is the White House.

Which president banned Christmas trees in the White House?

There are myths that environmentalist President Theodore Roosevelt did not allow Christmas trees at the White House because of his conservation beliefs. But according to the White House, there was no ban in place. Rather the family did not choose to include one in their celebration. However, in 1902, the President’s son Archie brought a Christmas tree into the White House which he hid in a closet. President Roosevelt was said to be so delighted, the family began a Christmas tree tradition.

Related: See the Official White House Christmas Ornaments Through the Years

When did the White House burn?

The first White House burned on August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812.

Who burned down the White House?

The White House was burned by British troops. It is said the fiery blaze could be seen from 50 miles away. First lady Dolly Madison made sure that a full-length portrait of George Washington was saved. According to The Atlantic, the picture was a copy of the 1797 original from artist Gilbert Stuart.

When was the White House rebuilt?

The original architect James Hoban was responsible for rebuilding the White House. When James Monroe became president in 1817, the new building was ready for him and his family to move in.

What is the address of the White House?:

The address of the White House is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Related: 100 Powerful JFK Quotes That Still Ring True Today

How many people work in the White House?

According to NPR, the Trump administration had 377 White House office staff. And according to the Annual Report to Congress on White House Office Personnel, the Biden administration has 474 staff members (as of July 2022).

Who owns the White House?

The National Park Service owns the White House. It is part of the President's Park. The president and his or her family are given $100,000 toward redecorating. Some families choose to use their own funds.

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