History of White House

The history of the White House is a fascinating story—one that starts back at the beginning of America and its capital city. Home to every president since John Adams, the building has served as a family home as well as an office and special event host. This beautiful mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the most famous houses in America. No other place quite puts everything together as the White House, whose story begins in 1790 and continues as a symbol of the American presidency.

Construction on the White House started in 1792, two years after President George Washington signed an act by Congress that the federal government would be located along the Potomac River in a square-shaped plot of land between Maryland and Virginia. Several proposals were submitted, but the design from James Hoban, an Irish-born architect, was chosen. President Washington never lived in the home, but the second president, John Adams, and his wife Abigail, moved in while construction was still underway. The project was not officially completed until 1800. Although throughout the history of the White House, each president has left his mark on the home.

When talking about interesting White House facts, it's surprising to know that the home wasn't always called the White House. Over the years, the White House has gone by many names. Before 1901, it was called the executive mansion or the president's house. Some even called the home the president's palace. When Teddy Roosevelt was in office, he gave the home the official name of the White House in 1901.

The home that stands today is not quite the same house that was built between 1792 and 1800. The White House has survived two fires—the first one during the War of 1812-and another in 1929 when Herbert Hoover was president. Another major rebuilding project in White House history happened during the time when Harry S. Truman was president. Much of the living space was renovated while the Trumans lived across the street at Blair House.

Another major change came in 1995 with the opening of the White House Visitor Center. Operated by the National Park Service and watched over by the White House Historical Association, the building serves both as a museum and a starting point for White House tours. There's also the chance to watch a movie about the famous house and the opportunity to visit the gift shop.

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