The White House, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is home of the President of the United States and an always expanding museum of American history. This historic structure stands as a symbol of American democracy, as it also serves as the President’s office and as a meeting place for civil discourse between foreign leaders and visiting dignitaries from all over the world.
History of the White House
The White House was designed by Irish architect John Hoban and began construction in 1792. John Adams was the first president to move into the White House in 1800. During the War of 1812, the White House was set on fire by British troops. Architect Hoban revisited to rebuild the house for President James Monroe to return to in 1817. From Hoban’s original design and renovations and additions to The White House over the next two centuries, the structure reflects Palladian and Neoclassical architectural styles.
While Monroe and President Andrew Jackson made additions to the House (the South and North Porticos) from 1824 through 1829, major renovations did not begin until 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt recruited the help of famous New York architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White. To make more room for the first family, the presidential offices were moved from the second floor to the Executive Office Building (now known as the “West Wing”).
Roosevelt’s rectangular office in the West Wing (elaborately called “Roosevelt’s Room”) now serves as a meeting room. In 1909 his successor, President William Howard Taft, recruited architect Nathan C. Wyeth to design a new presidential office. Named after its oval shape, the Oval Office has served as the official office of the President since 1934. From Wyeth’s original design and renovations over the next two decades, the Oval Office reflects baroque, neoclassical, and Georgian architectural styles.
The White House
The White House houses 132 rooms on 6 levels. Serving as home to every president since John Adams, The White House has accumulated a vast collection of interior décor pieces, including historic paintings, sculpture, furniture, and china over the past two centuries from places all over the world.
Visitors to the White House can see the East Wing (where the office of the First Lady is located) and the Executive Residence (where the first family lives). Visitors can also visit the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, the Rose Garden, and the South Lawn.