America's most famous home, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, DC. The names of his rooms can make a whole palette. In this house live all the presidents of America, starting with the second in a row - John Adams. All this is the White House in Washington. The history of the official residence of the US presidents will tell Ekaterina Astafieva.
Someone who lives in the White House?
Contrary to popular belief, not all the presidents of America lived in the White House. The first head of state, George Washington, still managed without his own residence, and the famous building was built only in 1800, when John Adams replaced Washington at his post. “I pray for the blessing of this house, all its future tenants, and that only honest and wise people rule under this roof,” the first owner of the White House wrote these words to his wife. This saying can be found on the fireplace in the main dining room of the building.
Famous White House
The construction of the White House began in 1792. The design of the residence was entrusted to the architect James Hoban. Washington met him for the first time during his Southern Tour in 1791. Hoban at the time was working on the creation of the courthouse in Charleston. The president even arranged a small architectural competition in which Hoban very quickly won. By 1800, the building was completed - it took 8 years and 2.5 million dollars. Interestingly, slave labor was used at the construction site. European masters and immigrant workers from different countries also had a hand in the decoration of the White House.
Building project of 1793
But the White House wasn’t able to stand in its original state for a long time. In 1801, Western and Eastern colonnades were attached to the building. And in 1812, a war broke out between England and America, which was fatal for a presidential residence. On August 24, 1814, the English landing force entered Washington and set fire to most of the buildings in the city, including the Capitol, the Treasury, and the White House. The capital of America was plundered, the British removed a huge amount of valuables from the White House as military booty. Later managed to return some of the jewels and the picture, which was written by George Washington himself.
White House in August 1814
And your whole house is white!
James Hoban had to rebuild the building in accordance with the original project, and by 1817 construction was already finished. So the White House we know today is very similar, but not original. The building was built in the style of early classicism or, as it is sometimes said, in the style of palladianism. The principles of strict symmetry are inherited from ancient Greece. Historians point out the similarity of the White House with Leinster House in Dublin, where parliament is now sitting. Perhaps this is not surprising, because the architect Hoban had Irish roots. The original sand color of the building during the restructuring was replaced by white, it was then that the residence of the president and got its famous name. But officially, only Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, began to call his home the White House.
At various times some other parts were attached to the White House. For example, in the 1820s, southern and northern porticoes were added. At the very beginning of the 20th century, the presidential residence was no longer able to accommodate all the people living in it, so it was decided to increase the number of rooms. Due to this, the White House got hold of the West and the small East wing. In the form in which we know it today, the Eastern Wing was built only in 1942. In 1929, the residents of the White House again became fire victims: the fire destroyed almost all the rooms on the first and second floors.
Reconstruction of the White House under Truman
Many innovations have appeared in the presidential house during the reign of Franklin Roosevelt, who has been confined to a wheelchair since the 1920s. Ramps were equipped throughout the White House, and an indoor warm pool was built right on the territory so that the president could undergo medical procedures. In 1948, Harry Truman decided to equip his home with a special two-storey basement, which he used as a headquarters for operational guidance of military actions. The same basement saved the White House from complete destruction when it turned out a little later that the wooden beams on which the building rested were rotten and were about to collapse.
Rooms of all colors of the rainbow
The White House is quite simple. On the first floor of the building are the Card Room (this is where Franklin Roosevelt worked with cards), the Hall of Diplomatic receptions, the Gilded Room and the Chinese Room. The latter contains a unique collection of works of Chinese art. The floor above is the State Dining Room, Red, Blue and Green Halls, Family Dining Room and East Hall. By the way, the latter is the largest room in the mansion. The world-famous Oval Office, where the president spends his working time, is located in the West Wing. The third floor of the building is often called “family”, since it is there that the rooms of the president’s family are located.
Inauguration of President Obama in the Blue Hall
Work for the First Lady
It’s hard to imagine the White House without the First Lady. The wives of the presidents significantly influenced the appearance and atmosphere of the residence. For example, the wife of the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison, Caroline began collecting a collection for the Chinese Room.
The famous Jacqueline Kennedy thought over the interior for each room in the tradition of the Victorian era, decorated the house with antique furniture. The White House even adjoins the garden, named after Jacqueline.
John Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy in the Yellow Oval Room
Richard Nixon's wife Pat bought about 600 antique objects for the mansion. It can be said that almost every presidential family contributes something new to the look of the building. All changes must be agreed with the Special Committee for the Preservation of the White House, which is headed by the First Lady.