Our first two US Presidents, George Washington and John Adams rented their homes in Washington, DC.At the initiative of Washington, a plan was put forward to build a Presidential mansion in the Capital at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.Washington laid the cornerstone for the building in 1792.It would become the largest home in North America for the next 70 years.John Adams was able to move in by 1800, although much of the house was unfinished at the time.It did not have running water or central heat until 1835.Today, it has 35 bathrooms.
Since 1800 it has been called the President’s Palace and the Executive Mansion, and it wasn’t until 1901 that Theodore Roosevelt officially dubbed it “The White House”.
It has survived two notable fires.The British set it ablaze in 1814, playing sore loser to the nation that had won independence a generation earlier.It was rebuilt by 1817.On Christmas Eve, 1929, Herbert Hoover’s Oval Office and much of the West Wing caught fire.Hoover returned to his digs by the Spring of 1930.
Harry Truman oversaw one of the biggest reconstruction projects for the White House from 1948 to 1952, deconstructing most of the interior and adding a sub-basement and tunnels to adjacent buildings to improve survivability in the event of a nuclear attack.This part of the project was code named “Project 9”, and cost $881,000 of the $6.5M spent on the entire project.President George W. Bush used the shelter on the evening of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Peter Evans District of Columbia Washington Mar 03, 2022 Architecture History