• Wed. Nov 25th, 2020

10 facts about the White House that will leave you gobsmacked: From exotic pets to kitchen secrets

The official residence and working space of the President of the United States, the White House has been in existence since 1800. Besides serving as home to the Presidents, the neo-classical styled structure has numerous facts associated with it that have intrigued tourists, staff and visitors for ages. Here, we present before you 10 fun yet, interesting facts about the White House, which is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington. 

The design for the White House was chosen in a competition 

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The Founding Father of America and former President of the USA, Theodore Roosevelt, had personal interests in the way the President’s house looked. He along with Pierre Charles L’Enfant, French-American military engineer who designed the basic plan for Washington, agreed to finalize the design for the White House through competition in 1791. Of all the entries, only the design submitted by James Hoban was selected. The Irish-born architect finally designed the residence of the President. 

The naming 

Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919),the 26th President of the United States (1901-09) sitting at his desk working. (Getty Images)

The building was initially referred to as “President’s Palace”, “Presidential Mansion”, or “President’s House”. According to myth, white paint was applied to the building to mask the burn damages it had incurred in the Burning of Washington fire, which eventually gave the structure the name it has today. The earliest evidence of reference ‘White House’ traces back to 1811. The building was referred to as ‘Executive Mansion’ until former President Theodore Roosevelt officially named it “White House-Washington” in 1901.

Alteration of The White House to accommodate exotic animals

During the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, the rooms on the mansion’s second floor were converted from office space to family living quarters, however, not for his six children. While it was said that nothing within the White House was “too sacred for amusement and no place too good for a playroom”, additional space for created to fit his children’s exotic pets, including raccoons, snakes, a badger, and a bear. 

The White House was accredited as a museum

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The residence of the President has been a major sight of attraction since its inception. It is believed that the building attracts over 1.5 million visitors every year. So much so that the White House has been named as a unit of the National Capital Parks system and was accredited as a museum in 1988. 

The library which was once a laundry room

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Before the White House library came into being, it was used by the first President John Adams as the laundry room. It was said to have been filled with “Tubs, Buckets, and a variety of Lumber”. The room was renovated and turned into a library during the presidency of Millard Fillmore between 1850 and 1853. The White House library is located on the ground floor and is used by the President and the First Lady for teas and meetings. 

The White House gained value during Obama’s presidency

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Did you know that the White House is worth $397.9 million? This was based on a statement released by real-estate listings firm Zillow in 2017, which was calculated using a proprietary algorithm. According to Business Insider, the president’s residence gained about 15% more value during former President Barack Obama’s eight years in office. 

The First Family pays their monthly expenses 

Even though the White House provides the President with ample amenities they need to be paid for. The First Family pays for all the household expenses, down to toiletries and personal meals. The total bill is deducted from the President’s monthly salary. Furthermore, when a prate party is organized within the White House, the President needs to pay for food and beverages, waiters and servers, and setup and cleanup crews. 

The annual maintenance charges 

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The majestic structure comes with equally expensive maintenance. Reportedly, the annual cost of maintenance of the White House is $750,000. The exteriors require 570 gallons of paint, which cost over $20,000. 

The first telephone in the White House 

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The White House saw its first phone in 1879, which was used by President Rutherford B.Hayes. It was installed in 1879 but was seldom put to use as there weren’t many phones in Washington to makes calls to. Meanwhile, Hayes’ phone number was simply 1.

The secrets of the White House kitchen 

The chefs at the White House kitchen can reportedly serve dinner for 140 guests at the drop of a hat. Say the First Family is hosting a party, the kitchen can serve over 1000 guests. Furthermore, the President’s residence also has multiple kitchens. Besides the main kitchen, the White House is room for a pastry kitchen and a family kitchen, which is dedicated to making casual breakfast and meals for the president and his family.  

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