White House which was known as Executive Mansion earlier, is the office and residence of the president of the United States. It is perhaps the most famous and easily recognizable building in the world, which serves as both the home and workplace of the president and also, the headquarters of the president’s principal staff members.
Before we go to some of the fascinating facts about White House, let’s take a quick tour of the President’s house with ex-President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama:
What is so special about the White House?
Let’s look at some of the most interesting facts about the White House which is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N Washington, DC 20500:
The White House has six floors with 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms. It consists of 412 doors, 28 fireplaces, eight staircases, three elevators, and the setup for an epic game of hide-and-seek. Thinking about the cost? Well, a recent appraisal valued the property at just under $400 million.
Designed by an Irish Architect:
Yes, you heard it right! The White House was not designed by an American. It was designed by James Hoban, an Irish architect who began his stateside career in Philadelphia in 1785.
Name of the building:
The name “White House” was decided in 1901, when Teddy Roosevelt decided to change it from the “Executive Residence.” He noted that state governors had executive residences, and he wanted to make sure that the POTUS’s residence had a more distinguished title.
Built by Slaves:
This White House fact has become known to public, when Michelle Obama struck a nerve by expressing her feelings about waking up every day in a house built by slaves. White House records also show that African American slaves were trained on the spot to fill certain capacities, such as quarryman, brick-maker, and carpenter.
Presidents have left the house with debt:
Yes, one of the perks of being president is living rent-free, but that’s not sufficient for the hefty expenses that come with moving into the White House. Despite making a six-figure salary, the President of the United States is still responsible for paying for all meals, at the White House and elsewhere, all events (and the wages for those working the events), and even transportation.
It’s not a surprise that many presidents in the past have left the White House in serious debt, such as Bill Clinton, whose debt totaled between $2.28 million and $10.6 million by the time he left office.
Hidden pool beneath the press room:
Beside an exterior pool, the White House also has its interior pool which is hidden beneath the floors. The indoor pool opened in 1933 for use by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is underneath the current James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
No electricity for nearly a century!
Don’t believe it? Yes, it was entirely lit by gas lights until 1891, when electricity was first installed. And as electric lighting was still a fairly new concept, the president at that time, Benjamin Harrison, was skeptical of the dangers and worried he would be shocked if he touched a light switch.
A popular wedding spot:
Interesting isn’t it? there have been a number of weddings at the White House since it was first built. In fact, eighteen couples have gotten married at the White House, the most recent of whom tied the knot in 2013.
A secret entrance:
Secret entrances are common in most of the high-profile buildings now a days. The White House too has a secret entrance for the president and secret visitors. It is located in H Street in Washington D.C. and passes through two tunnels and an alleyway before arriving at the basement. This secret entrance was designed in part as a response to World War II.
Want to know other security features of the building? check out this video from TheHub: