The White House
The White House
Key quick facts!
Location: Washington DC = 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Country: United States
Architect: James Hoban
Consctruction start date: October 13, 1792
Structure: the East Wing, the West Wing, and the Residence
Visitors a year: 1,825,000
The White House has:
A main residence and architectural wings on the east and west sides
4 stories, plus a basement and sub-basement
55,000 ft² (5,100 m²) of floor space (67,000 ft² including the wings)
132 rooms and 35 bathrooms
a tennis court
a basketball court
a putting green
a bowling alley
a movie theater
a jogging track
a swimming pool
For two hundred years, the White House has stood as a symbol of the Presidency, the United States government, and the American people. Its history, and the history of the nation’s capital, began when President George Washington signed an Act of Congress in December of 1790 declaring that the federal government would reside in a district "not exceeding ten miles square…on the river Potomac." President Washington, together with city planner Pierre L’Enfant, chose the site for the new residence, which is now 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. As preparations began for the new federal city, a competition was held to find a builder of the "President’s House." Nine proposals were submitted, and Irish-born architect James Hoban won a gold medal for his practical and handsome design.
Construction began when the first cornerstone was laid in October of 1792. 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, that its first residents, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved in. Since that time, each President has made his own changes and additions. The White House is, after all, the President’s private home. It is also the only private residence of a head of state that is open to the public, free of charge.