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White House Facts for Kids

As the residence of the American president and a representation of the American people, the White House is well-known worldwide. However, just like the country, it stands for, America’s first house is full of surprises. The President of the United States and their family still maintain the White House as their official residence.

Also Read: US Presidents Facts For Kids

Who constructed the White House?  How big is the structure? The White House sometimes referred to as “The People’s House,” has a rich history. Let’s discuss this in great depth.

Some basic facts about the White House:

Fun White House Facts
  • Name: White House
  • Location: Washington, D.C., USA
  • GPS Coordinates: 38°53’52″N 77°02’11″W
  • Built: Between 1792 and 1800
  • Opened: November 1st, 1800
  • First Resident: Former U.S. President John Adams
  • Significance: President of the United States Residence

Here are some interesting facts about the White House, one of the most prestigious residences on Earth:

1. The British set fire to the White House.

British set fire to the White House

The American government set fire to Canada’s Ontario Parliament Buildings during the War of 1812. As a result, the British Army set fire to most of Washington, including the White House, in retaliation in 1814. The presidential building’s interior was destroyed, while the outer walls had severe fire damage. James Madison resided in the Octagon House following the fire; it eventually functioned as the American Institute of Architects’ main office (AIA). British troops entered Washington, D.C. in 1814, during the War of 1812. They started a fire that caused damage to the White House’s inside. The repairs were completed in 1817. In October 1817, President James Monroe moved into the partially rebuilt White House.

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2. The White House was built with the help of enslaved people.

The territory now Washington, D.C., was taken from the slave-holding states of Virginia and Maryland. Historical payroll records show that numerous African Americans—some free and others enslaved were among the laborers who constructed the White House. The African American employees carved sandstone alongside white co-workers in the Aquia, Virginia quarry. They also erected the foundations, drilled the footings, and baked the bricks for the interior walls of the White House.

3. The White House wasn’t always white in color.

The White House wasn't always white in color

Whitewash with a lime base was applied to the structure when it was initially built, only to prevent the permeable stone from freezing. The sandstone of a grey tint from an Aquia, Virginia quarry was used to make the White House. Red Seneca sandstone from Maryland is used to construct the north and south porticos. The sandstone walls were painted white when the White House was rebuilt following the British fires. According to the White House Historical Association, “the whitewash was never allowed to age, but was replenished repeatedly until the structure was finally coated with white lead paint in 1818.”

4. It wasn’t until 1901 that the White House received its current name.

Over a century has passed since John and Abigail Adams, the building’s first occupants, came there. The “Executive Mansion,” “President’s House,” and “President’s Palace” were the previous names for the White House. This incredible structure’s current name was given formally by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901.

5. Under the West Wing, there’s a covert command center.

Construction workers were digging a large hole in the earth in front of the West Wing in 2010, and the project was practically hidden in secrecy by a towering green construction fence. When the fencing was removed, and the ground repaved two years later, it seemed nothing had happened. Although it was “officially” reported that work was being done to replace the West Wing’s deteriorating utilities, the numerous truckloads of heavy-duty concrete and beams aroused suspicion among conspiracy theorists and intrepid citizens alike: had a secret underground command center that had been proposed more than 50 years ago finally been established?

6. Five hundred seventy gallons of paint are needed for the White House’s exterior.

If you wish to paint the exterior, you would need many friends along since the outside of the White House needs 570 gallons of paint to be painted. The entire White House is painted with 570 gallons of white paint. Rice glue, casein, and lead were used to create the first cover. The whole renovation would cost more than approx.—$ 85,000 just in paint.

7. The White House kitchen can serve dinner to up 1000 people.

White House kitchen can serve dinner to up 1000 people

Although working at the White House may appear immensely luxurious, the president’s residence isn’t always a bed of roses regarding food and drink. The five full-time cooks of the White House have been preparing hors d’oeuvres for more than 1,000 guests. Furthermore, not even the free world’s leader is entitled to a free meal.

8. Various facilities are available at the White House.

Michelle Obama plants lettuce in the White House Kitchen Garden

The White House offers its inhabitants a range of recreational amenities, including a tennis court, jogging track, swimming pool, movie theatre, billiards area, and bowling alley. There are six stories and 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2) of floor space in the White House, along with 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, eight staircases, three elevators, five full-time chefs, a tennis court, a (single-lane) bowling alley, and a theatre officially known as the White House Theater.

9. Famous personalities have given the White House various names.

Richard Nixon & Elvis Presley at White House
Richard Nixon & Elvis Presley at White House

Gerald R. Ford referred to it as “the best public housing I’ve ever seen,” while Harry S. Truman labeled it a “glamorous prison.” According to Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan described it as “an eight-star hotel.”

10.  Christmas trees were not allowed in the White House earlier.

Theodore Roosevelt, a staunch environmentalist, prohibited Christmas trees from being displayed in the White House. 

However, the White House asserts that there was no such prohibition. Instead, the family decided against having one join them in their festivities. Archie, the president’s son, brought a Christmas tree into the White House in 1902, but he concealed it in a closet. It was stated that President Roosevelt was so happy that the family started a Christmas tree tradition.

11. The White House has an Irish twin.

Leinster House in Ireland
Leinster House in Ireland

Although the cornerstone of the White Mansion was placed in 1792, its design may have been inspired by a house in Ireland. James Hoban, an Irishman who had studied in Dublin, created the methods used to construct the palace in the new American capital. According to historians, Hoban inspired his White House design from the Leinster House, the Dukes of Leinster’s Georgian-style house in Dublin. Before the White House was built, the Leinster House in Ireland—now the location of the Irish Parliament—probably served as an inspiration.

12. European initiatives played a significant part in the construction of the White House.

Without the help of immigrant workers and European artisans, the White House could not have been built. Scottish stonemasons erected the sandstone walls. The rose and garland embellishments above the north entrance and the scalloped designs beneath the window pediments were also carved by Scottish artisans. Immigrants from Ireland and Italy did brick and plaster work.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning all these new facts about the White House. It is one of the most significant structures and a live museum of American history. As the first lady Jacqueline Kennedy remarked, “This house will always grow and should.”