What makes the White House White?
Unveiling Nine Secrets of the White House
April 13th marks the birth of our nation's third president, Thomas Jefferson. He was one of only a handful of men who were around at the framing of this great nation. . . and the framing of the nation's presidential mansion. .
Thomas Jefferson, aside from being a phenomenal writer and orator, took an interest in architecture, planning, and generally anything that he could deconstruct and/or construct. In that vein, we will take an opportunity to share some lesser-known facts about the White House and its amazing history.
Did you know that the color of the White House is inspired by its lime-based whitewash — so chosen to keep the walls from freezing?
Here are nine more White House truths Jefferson would have grinned about.
- Washington D.C. used to be swampy and infested with pigs and mosquitoes due to its location on the Potomac River. The marsh was cleared up, and now the moisture contributes to the lush and beautiful landscape, well-suited for placement of a palatial estate.
- Though Thomas Jefferson submitted a design for the house, he lost the contest to architect James Hoban.
- George Washington oversaw the construction of the White House, but never reaped the benefits of his labor — John Adams was the first president to occupy the "Presidential Palace."
- Washington D.C. city planner, Pierre Charles L’Enfant's original design for the White House was nearly four times the size of the substantially reduced final design.
- Still, at one quarter size, the home boasts 32 restrooms. Knowing this makes it difficult to imagine anyone having to wait in line… unless you consider that the White House welcomes more than 6,000 tourists every day.
- Tourists can see nearly all of the 132 rooms, 28 fireplaces, 147 windows, 7 staircases and 3 elevators.
- As many as 140 honored guests can be served at one meal by the White House’s five full-time chefs. Conversely, these same chefs could instead serve hors d’oeuvres to as many as 1,000 casual event goers.
- Until after the American Civil War, the mansion was the largest residence in the United States.
- Homesick Americans in Ireland or France can see the homes that inspired the exterior design elements of the White House — Leinster House in Dublin, and Château de Rastignac near Bordeaux.
Hungry for more?
Check out the 2-minute video below from The History Channel.
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