History Of The White House

History of the White House: ever wonder how the White House came to be called, The White House? Learn here.

When the government of the United States first started out they did not have a permanent location. They met in various cities in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania but mainly in Philadelphia. In 1784 New York offered to provide permanent quarters for the government so they remolded the old New York City Hall and renamed it Federal Hall. New York also began a magnificent mansion for the President's House but following the conditions of the residence bill, the Government moved on to Philadelphia before it could be completed.

While in New York, President and Mrs. Washington actually lived in two dwellings: an attractive late 18th century brick house on Cherry Street and later in a four-storied 18th century Broadway residence. On July 12, 1790, George Washington recorded in his diary the final decision to move the Seat of Government of the United States from Federal headquarters in New York City to a city proposed for the Capital in a brand new area called the District of Columbia. This new city was conveyed by the states of Maryland and Virginia.

Washington with the help of Pierre L'Enfant, city planner choose the site where the house of the President of the United States would be built. In 1792 a great competition for the design of the White House was in progress but the Irish-American architect James Hoban won out over all the rest. His neoclassical plan was a virtual copy of a project in the Book of Architecture by James Gibbs. Today it is still the most famous house in the United States. Washington never got to live in the building because by the time it was completed President John Adams was the first President to live there. His wife, Abigail Adams is known as the first wife of a President to live in the Executive Mansion.

The new house had no real name. Since 1800 it has been the official residence of the President of the United States and is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Over the years the exterior of the building has been through many changes, providing more room for offices as well as improving the looks of the building.

In 1814, the magnificent building was burned by the British but soon after James Hoban reconstructed it back to its original appearance. In 1826 Hoban added the south portico. The White House was remolded in great detail in 1902 by the firm, McKim, Mead and White who added the Gallery and the Executive Office Wing.

In 1929 while President Hoover was in office, the White House caught fire again and had to be renovated. For many years it was called the "President's House," and even the "President's Palace." After the Civil War the house became known as the "Executive Mansion." In 1901 President Theodore Roosevelt officially changed the name to the "White House."

Today the White House is still the home of the President and his family and there are offices for the president and the people that work for him. The lawmakers in Congress, work in another building called the United States Capital. Although the mansion went through several names many years ago, it will always remain, the "White House."

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