Mind-blowing facts about the White House
Each incoming President has an option can redesign their own office (The Oval Office) which is in the west wing of White House.
West Wing was built by Teddy Roosevelt to keep the residential building separate from official business. But later William Taft expanded it and added the Oval office.
Before Ted Roosevelt, it was just known as the Executive Mansion or President’s Palace. Roosevelt officially gave its current name in 1901.
In 1814, British soldiers sailed up the Potomac river and set fire to the white house. It took 3 years after that to rebuild again.
The White House was the biggest house in US until the Civil war.
White House is the only private residence of a head of state open to public, free of charge.
Winston Churchill refused to ever again stay in the Lincoln Bedroom after he emerged from the bathroom in the nude and saw the ghost of the late President Abraham Lincoln appear next to the fireplace.
Some of the laborers used to construct and remodel the White House long ago were slaves.
The White House has 132 rooms and six floors.
Computers made their way in to the White House during the Carter administration and Internet made its debut during the presidency of George Bush Sr.
James Polk (1845 – 49) was the first president to have his photograph taken while in office.
Ted Roosevelt (1901-09) was the first president to ride in an automobile and also the first one to travel outside the country, to Panama.
Warren G. Harding was the first president to give a speech over the radio.
F.D. Roosevelt was the first president to ride in an Aeroplane.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to use a helicopter that took off and landed on the White house lawn.
Very little of the building dates remains from its original construction. Over the past 200 years, the interiors have changed dramatically to fit the times, and they usually ripped out whatever existed previously. During the Theodore Roosevelt Administration, it underwent a massive reconstruction, with the architectural firm of McKim Mead and White redecorating it. Notably, they added the entire East and West wings, including the famed Oval Office. (The Oval office simply did not exist prior to that).
Then, during the Truman Administration, it was found that the floors were seriously damaged, and the entire building was gutted. Only the walls were left standing, and the floors and walls were rebuilt with steel. Any remaining moldings and other decorative items were tossed and remade anew.
By now, about the only parts original to the building are the marble fireplaces and the stone exterior walls. Most of what you see inside dates from the 1950s.
Jackie Kennedy was appalled by this of course. By the time she took over as First Lady, the Eisenhower family had it decorated like a second rate office building from the 50s. She set up a trust for private donations, and sought to replace any original furniture from the past that was in the White House. What she couldn’t find, she looked for period pieces that would have been appropriate from that time. She restored the overall look to its original construction, keeping only what was the best that could be salvaged. Since then, the White House gets redecorated under the supervision of each First Lady, sometimes with rather dubious results. Not all of them have had good taste!
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Almost every president is shocked to learn this upon their arrival at the White House. Nancy Reagan said, “Nobody ever told us the president and his wife are charged for every meal, as well as incidentals like dry cleaning, toothpaste, and other toiletries,” after being presented with her first bill, and Rosalynn Carter commonly complained about the expensive costs her and her husband were forced to pay.
The Lincoln Sitting Room is located on the second floor east wing of the White House. For the first 100 years it was used as part of the president’s office, and specifically used as a telegraph room from 1865 to 1902.
In 1902 the West Wing was built onto the White House and all offices moved there and the Lincoln Room became a sitting room for guests staying in the bedroom next to it. It has been decorated to match the bedroom next door in a Victorian theme. Some of its furniture actually came from the Green Room.
The room was Nixon’s favorite spot in the White House. He liked it so much that he even had it replicated in his presidential library. He enjoyed working in the room next to the roaring fireplace and it helped him so much so that he even lit it in the summer and turned on the AC to offset the heat. He would listen to music and sit in his favorite brown chair to do his work next to the fireplace.
President Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to use a phone. His phone number was simply 1. In 1879, the first telephone was installed in the White House. At first it was hardly used, because there weren’t many other phones in Washington to call. H