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White House

The White House is the official residence of the President of the United States of America, and has been for over 200 years. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the capital city of the USA.

The Design and Construction of the White House: The White House was designed by the Irish-American architect James Hoban, who had won an architectural design competition in 1792. Hoban's design is said to have been very similar to a plan from James Gibbs' "Book of Architecture" (published in 1728). Extra pavilions and porticos (ornamental, deck-like structures with columns supporting a roof) were added to the White House later; they were designed by the architect Benjamin Latrobe.

The White House was originally built from 1792 to 1800. It was burned down by British soldiers during the War of 1812, but was rebuilt from 1815 to 1817.

The Presidents and the White House: The first US President to live in the White House was John Adams ( the second President of the USA). Adams and his family moved to the White House in 1800. They had previously lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (which had been the temporary capital of the USA while Washington, D.C., was being built). When the Adams family moved into the White House, the interior of the building was not quite finished. Construction was completed during Thomas Jefferson's term (1801-1809).

Improvements to the White House: In the 1850's, a stove was added to the White House; previously, food had been cooked in fireplaces. The first telephone was wired into the White House during the term of Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881). Electricity was added to the White House during the Benjamin Harrison administration (1889-1893).

The one-story West Wing offices were built during the term of Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, in 1901-1902 (they were added because his large family had taken over the second floor offices for family space, so more temporary office space was needed).

President William Howard Taft remodeled the President's office in 1909, changing it into an oval-shaped room, creating the Oval Office in the center of the West Wing.

Between 1948 and 1952, during the Harry Truman administration, the White House was completely remodeled after it was found to be structurally unsound. Steel framing was added to strengthen the walls, but the original rooms were reconstructed.



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