Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Executive Mansion

9/*The White House boasts 132 rooms, 32 bathrooms, six levels, eight staircases, three elevators and 28 fireplaces.  The 55,000 square foot house takes 570 gallons of white paint to cover its exterior.  The residence, which sits on 18 acres of land, was formerly known as the "President's Palace", the "President's House" and the "Executive Mansion".  

1.  George Washington never lived in the White House since it wasn't built until 1800.


2.  The British burned it down in 1814 (War of 1812) and it was repainted white to hide the charred walls.  

The White House after it was burned by the British in 1814 courtesy

3.  Abraham Lincoln met Frederick Douglass within its walls and promised him that slavery would be abolished, a decision which would cost him his life in 1863. 

"Frederick Douglass Appealing to President Lincoln and His Cabinet to Enlist Negroes," by William Edouard Scott, 1943

4.  William H. Taft, who called the residence "the most depressing House", got his 325-pound frame stuck in the bathtub in 1909.  Read President Taft is Stuck in the Bath

William Howard Taft

5.  Harry S Truman, a native of Missouri, added a balcony in 1947.

George Bush Jr. and his wife entertain guests on the Truman Balcony in 2001 courtesy

6.  Dwight D. Eisenhower, who added a putting green, used to hit golf balls off of the balcony in a game of "Hit the Secret Service Man" in the 1950's.  (In fact, the Oval Office floor was pockmarked from his golf cleats.)  

President Eisenhower putting on the green in 1957 courtesy

7.  Jacqueline Kennedy had the Executive Mansion restored and redecorated (see my blog post "George Washington Didn't Sleep Here" dated February 15, 2013).  She received an honourary Emmy for the her televised tour of the White House in 1962.

Jacqueline Kennedy's televised White House tour courtesy 

8.  Lyndon B. Johnson had two pet beagles at the White House.

President Johnson and his family play with their pet beagles in the White House Garden courtesy

9.  Winston Churchill refused to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom after Lincoln's ghost appeared as he emerged nude from the bathtub during the Second World War.

Sir Winston Churchill at White House circa 1943 courtesy

10.  Franklin D. Roosevelt added a heated indoor pool to help with his physiotherapy in 1933.

White House swimming pool courtesy 

11.  John Quincy Adams grew the first flower garden in 1825.

First Lady Edith Roosevelt added the Rose Garden in 1902 courtesy

12.  Benjamin Harrison brought the first Christmas tree inside in 1889.

13.  Richard Nixon added a bowling alley in 1969.

14.  Grover Cleveland's wife, Frances, was the only First Lady to give birth in the White House in 1893.

15.  Andrew Johnson was the first to host the Easter Egg Roll in 1878.

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