We are familiar with the building where all the presidents of the United States live, but not the entire history of it! The White House that was first constructed in 1792 with the first president to ever live there in 1800, has undergone many repairs, renovations, and rebuilt multiple times throughout the years. Here are some interesting facts about the White House:
There are portraits of every president displayed in the White House
The portraits of the most recent presidents are displayed chronologically at the State Floor, starting from the Entrance Hall leading up to the residence’s stairway. The portraits of previous presidents during the early years are scattered across the house. In the East room, you will find portraits of Theodore Roosevelt and George Washington. As for Abraham Lincoln, his portrait was hung in the Dining Room while William Howard Taft’s portrait was in the Blue Room. A fun fact about William’s portrait is that his portrait was painted in the Blue Room; hence, it was hung there as well. Most of the Virginia presidents are hung in the Blue Room, including John Adams. Head over to the East Wing, where you will see portraits of Chester A Arthur and Millard Fillmore displayed where guests would enter from. The portraits were hung there due to the large size that could not fit any other walls.
The most interesting president portrait placement is the portrait of President Lyndon B Johnson. His portrait is the smallest among all the other presidents. There was no proper explanation as to why his portrait was the smallest, but it was requested to be hung next to the State Dining Room’s doorway at the corner of the Entrance Hall.
White House Renovations Costs Millions
Based on the White House Historical Association‘s recent report, the White House construction, which started in 1792, costs a whopping total of $232,372. This figure back in 1790 equals to approximately $100 million today. Annual repairs and minor renovations could cost up to $1.6 million, excluding staff salaries, utilities, and food costs. The White House exterior alone requires at least 570 gallons of paint to cover the entire surface. Hence, you cannot expect the renovation team to use low-cost tools and machines. Not only do they need good quality equipment, but a huge volume of the tools is also required. With repairs costs going up to $5.7 million, you can only expect the construction team to use the best palm sander, high-quality paint, and steel beams instead of wooden ones. The White House was first constructed in 1792, and a mixture of white wage labourers, enslaved workers, and skilled craftsmen helped build the house. Today, the White House hires a professional architect and only skilled craftsmen to get the work done.
The White House has a total of 6 floors and 132 rooms
From afar, it may look like the White House occupies only two floors. Take a look inside, and you will find a rough total of 132 rooms with 35 bathrooms, 147 windows, 412 doors, 8 staircases, 3 elevators, and 28 fireplaces across 6 floors. Yes – that is an insane amount. The kitchen itself could house over 100 guests. It does not stop there though; some presidents would either make even more renovations or build a completely new room.
Countless animals have lived at the White House
Most people would have heard of the two lovely dogs named Sunny and Bo Obama as well as the Scottish terrier’s named Barney and Miss Beazley, owned by President George W Bush and First Lady Laura Bush that have all lived in the White House. But did you know there was also a herd of sheep residing there? President Woodrow Wilson brought them along to the South Lawn. There was also a cute pet pony called Macaroni, which is owned by Caroline, John F Kennedy’s daughter, a cow owned by President William H Taft, and even a raccoon named Rebecca, owned by First Lady Grace Coolidge.
The White House was on fire twice
The first fire incident took place in August 1814, when the British forces walked into Washington, DC, and set all the public buildings on fire. It happened after they had a lovely meal with the First Lady Dolley Madison. Almost everything was destroyed in the White House, and the process of rebuilding it was required immediately. The second fire incident occurred in 1929 during Christmas Eve when a blocked fireplace caused the blaze, which spread across the Oval Office and West Wing during the administration of Herbert Hoover.