President’s Day: The Most Famous House in the US

Did You Know these 4 White House Facts?

On this President’s Day weekend, we wanted to give you a run down of some little known facts about the most famous house in the United States (besides Jesse Pinkman’s house, of course).

Not everyone can keep track of the fact that the White House hosts 6,000 visitors each day, has five full-time chefs and a tennis court, swimming pool, movie theater and bowling lane.  For all of you future historians, don’t get discouraged if you don’t know all of the information on this list. Even Doris Kearns-Goodwin had to start somewhere.

Did you know how many rooms are in the White House?

In total, the White House can boast it has 132 rooms, 32 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, seven staircases and three elevators on six separate levels.

Unfortunately, this means I could never be president; I only live in homes with 133 rooms or more…

Did you know who the first president was to live in the White House?

Although George Washington holds a firm place at the head of the table of American presidential lore, John Adams – aka America’s silver medal – was actually the first president to live in the White House.

During George Washington’s presidency, the father of the country lived in three different houses in two capital cities – two homes in New York City and one in Philadelphia.  But some in the country (including a vast majority of America’s carriage horses) felt the long distance to the capital should be even for both northern and southern states.

So Washington did something that the politicians of today may find difficult to comprehend – he compromised.  He decided the capital of the new United States would be located on land in between Maryland and Virginia in the middle of the east coast.  Unfortunately for George, he resigned the presidency before construction was completed.

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Portrait of George Washington presumably handing someone a tissue; Courtesy of Flicker user Joye~

Did you know who named the White House?

Like the musician Prince, the White House has been through its fair share of names at various times in its career.  It was called the President’s Palace or Executive Mansion in the time of Adams and Lincoln.  It wasn’t until 1901 when President Theodore Roosevelt gave the White House its official title.

Teddy Roosevelt was the youngest person (42) to become president when he took the oath after President McKinley was assassinated.  And like a young individual moving into a new home, Roosevelt began a series of projects in the White House when he took over the job.  The most lasting legacy of Teddy Roosevelt on the White House is building the beginnings of the famous West Wing.

Some people may describe Washington, DC as a jungle.  But did you know during one presidency, the White House could have been considered an amateur zoo?

John Quincy Adams and Herbert Hoover probably thought they were unique with their pet alligators.  Calvin Coolidge would have laughed in their faces.

Besides the myriad of cats and dogs, the White House was home to a white canary, thrush, goose, mockingbird, two raccoons, a donkey, bobcat, wallaby, pygmy hippo, black bear and two lion cubs named Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau (someone thought they were real funny back then).

Every president since our second – John Adams – has lived in a patch of land near the Potomac River George Washington chose in 1791 for the presidential mansion during his tenure. Besides the theories regarding the secret passages to miles of roads criss-crossing under the city of Washington, DC and clandestine doors in the floor of the Lincoln bedroom leading to disaster-proof bunkers, the White House is first and foremost a home.  And although it has been as much of an American symbol as the Statue of Liberty or Golden Gate Bridge, the White House has been there for every holiday dinner, arrival international diplomats and local heroes and sheltered scores of American President’s families.

 

ST-C372-6-63 31 October 1963 Halloween visitors with the President. President Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr., Caroline Kennedy. White House, Oval Office. Photograph by Cecil Stoughton, White House, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

October 1963 Halloween visitors with the President Kennedy; Photo courtesy of Flickr user Infrogmation of New Orleans Photostream

 

While most of us will never get to sit behind the Resolute desk, the White House will always be America’s first home.  Enjoy your President’s Day!

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.whitehousehistory.org/search?q=white+house

http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/glimpse/WH_Facts/html/facts.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/about/inside-white-house%20

http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/west-wing/situation-room.htm

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/history-white-house

http://presidentialpetmuseum.com/whitehousepets-2/

 

Header image courtesy of Evo Flash

Sam is the Marketing Coordinator for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Roseland, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

2 Comments

  1. Sandra Laughlin
    February 12, 2016

    Great article!

    Reply
    • Sam Shalom
      February 18, 2016

      Thank you, Sandra!

      Reply

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