Home of the POTUS

The White House

IT was 226 years ago when the White House became the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States of America. The White House began construction along the banks of the Potomac River on October 13, 1792.

George Washington, the first US President, selected the exact location of the capital city and gave his approval for the Georgian design for the mansion, which was submitted by Irish-born architect James Hoban in an open competition.

No less than Washington himself marked the spot for the future north walls and entrance of the White House. The chosen location and position for the White House symbolically linked the President’s Residence to the U.S. Capitol via Pennsylvania Avenue.

The White House Entrance Hall
The Entrance Hall (click for 360° view) Tet Andolong

The first chief executive ended his service in 1797 and died two years later.  Although President Washington oversaw the construction of the house, he never lived in it. It was not until 1800, when the White House was nearly completed and its first residents, the second President John Adams and his wife Abigail, moved in. The White House has been known as the “President’s Palace,” the “President’s House,” and the “Executive Mansion”.  It was President Theodore Roosevelt who officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.

The White House State Dining Room
The State Dining Room (click to view 360°) Tet Andolong

Design and architecture

The White House is a grand mansion in the neo-classical Federal style, with details that echo classical Greek Ionic architecture. Hoban’s original design was modeled after the Leinster House in Dublin, Ireland and did not include the north and south porticos. It was the largest residence in the United States and remained so until the 1860s. Today, the White House is still the most famous residence in the whole world.

The White House Blue Room
The Blue Room (click for 360° view) Tet Andolong

How big is the White House?

The White House is 168 feet (51.2 meters) long, 85 feet and six inches (26.1 meters) wide without porticoes, 152 feet wide with porticoes. Its overall height (to the top of the roof) is 70 feet on the south and 60 feet and four inches on the north. Its façade (grade of lawn to parapet) is 60 feet on the south (the lawn is 54 feet above sea level) and 50 feet and four inches on the north.

It takes 300 gallons of white paint to cover the exterior of just the residence portion of the White House (center), excluding the West and East Wings and the fence encloses 18 acres of land. It has 132 rooms, including 16 family-guest rooms, one main kitchen, one diet kitchen, one family kitchen, and 35 bathrooms.

Above the Entrance Hall of the main foyer is the Presidential seal. Tet Andolong

The White House has (excluding storage rooms): 10 rooms on the Ground Floor, one main corridor, six restrooms; eight rooms on the State Floor, one main corridor, one entrance hall; 16 rooms, one main corridor, six bathrooms, and one restroom on the second floor; and 20 rooms, one main corridor, nine bathrooms on the third floor. The floor area (a total of six floors) is approximately 55,000 square feet.

Every president since Adams has occupied the White House and the history of this building extends far beyond the construction of its walls. The ground floor and the corridor rooms have been transformed from their early use as service areas to state floor rooms, where countless leaders and dignitaries have been entertained. Today, the White House is both the home of the President of the United States (POTUS) and his family as well as a museum of American history.

The Presidents and their First ladies have redecorated the White House many times in the past including Donald Trump and his wife Melania. It also has its own share of ghostly tales and spirited stories.

Question: Why is the Oval Office oval? Find out in my full story next week.


Image credits: Tet Andolong, Tet Andolong


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