The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. It has been the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams in 1800.

The house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia Creek sandstone in the Neoclassical style. When Thomas Jefferson moved into the house in 1801, he (with architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe) added low colonnades on each wing that concealed stables and storage. In 1814, during the War of 1812, the mansion was set ablaze by the British Army in the Burning of Washington, destroying the interior and charring much of the exterior. Reconstruction began almost immediately, and President James Monroe moved into the partially reconstructed Executive Residence in October 1817. Construction continued with the addition of the semi-circular South portico in 1824 and the North portico in 1829.

Because of crowding within the executive mansion itself, President Theodore Roosevelt had all work offices relocated to the newly constructed West Wing in 1901. Eight years later, President William Howard Taft expanded the West Wing and created the first Oval Office which was eventually moved as the section was expanded. In the main mansion, the third-floor attic was converted to living quarters in 1927 by augmenting the existing hip roof with long shed dormers. A newly constructed East Wing was used as a reception area for social events; Jefferson's colonnades connected the new wings. East Wing alterations were completed in 1946, creating additional office space. By 1948, the house's load-bearing exterior walls and internal wood beams were found to be close to failure. Under Harry S. Truman, the interior rooms were completely dismantled and a new internal load-bearing steel frame constructed inside the walls. Once this work was completed, the interior rooms were rebuilt.

The modern-day White House complex includes the Executive Residence, West Wing, East Wing, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building—the former State Department, which now houses offices for the President's staff and the Vice President—and Blair House, a guest residence. The Executive Residence is made up of six stories—the Ground Floor, State Floor, Second Floor, and Third Floor, as well as a two-story basement. The property is a National Heritage Site owned by the National Park Service and is part of the President's Park.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



User Reviews

Carol Ann Hill (6 months ago)
I am in washington dc visiting all the famous places and wow I saw the white house! The real white house where the president sleeps and everything! It looked like there was a lot of security when I came today -- not sure what was going on -- but a pretty site nonetheless
Amir Herzberg (7 months ago)
This is a great place to visit if you're in DC for the sites. It's such an important historical site. Make sure to plan your trip and get a reservation a few weeks or even months ahead of time for a tour. It's always crowded in the summer and you might have to wait in line for a while to get through the security checkpoints, but just seeing it from the inside is worth it. Seeing it from the street is nothing like seeing it up close and walking through the building.
Brian Dillard (7 months ago)
Try and obtain a White House tour by contacting your congress person’s office in advance. Or if you happen to know any Secret Service Agents, then maybe you can expedite the ticketing process. The tour is high security (obviously) and, once you’re inside you are able to roam through the White House East Wing in designated rooms. You’ll enjoy an historic experience as you view portraits, hear stories, and enjoy the weightiness of the place itself. A friend who we joined had gone during Christmas season and highly recommends a visit then!
Zeeshan Ahmed Sheikh (7 months ago)
It was very cool to see the White House! It's nice seeing where the President lives. I recommend visiting the important building. (Please note that we did not actually enter the White House's interior, we only saw the outside.). A must see when you visit DC! I was overwhelmed with how incredible and noteworthy this place is! We also got to see the president fly over which was pretty cool!
Sherri Barham (9 months ago)
Visiting the White House was a highlight of our trip to D.C. To know our nations history and see all of the portraits and photos of the families that have served our nation was inspiring. It is worth the effort to get a tour. I am so grateful that the peoples house is open for the American people to have a glimpse into the lives of our nations leaders. May God Bless This Home and All Who Enter.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Beersel Castle

The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.

The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.

After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.

The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.

Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.

The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.