For more than 200 years, the White House has been more than just the home of the Presidents of the United States and their families. Throughout the world, it is recognized as the symbol of the President, of the President's administration, and of the United States.
On November 1, 1800, John Adams and his wife Abigail were the first family to take up residence at the White House, a then unfinished building in the heart of Washington, D.C. Since that time, each President has made his own changes and additions to the facility. The White House is, after all, the President's private home. It is also the only private residence of a head of state that is open to the public, free of charge.
Throughout its history, the President's residence was also referred to as the President's Palace, the President's House, and the Executive Mansion. The popular designation "White House" did not become official until 1901, when Theodore Roosevelt had the name engraved on his stationery.
Some interesting details about the White House include:
- The White House requires 570 gallons of paint to cover its outside surface.
- There are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 levels in the Residence. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators.
- The White House grounds cover 18 acres. Before the construction of the North Portico, most public events were entered from the South Lawn, which was graded and planted by Thomas Jefferson.
- With 5 full-time chefs, the White House kitchen is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors d'oeuvres to more than 1,000.
- For recreation, the White House has a variety of facilities available to its residents, including a tennis court, jogging track, swimming pool, movie theatre, and bowling lane.
This is your opportunity to take a quick trip to the White House. Visit the book display located by the front door of the library where a computer monitor is positioned. Use the computer to take the interactive tour of the White House and see what is inside. The virtual visit will give you a chance to look at the structure and visit the West Wing, Residence, East Wing, and South Lawn of this landmark dwelling place that becomes the home and work location for each President of the United States and the presidential family during the President's term of office.