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Why the White House is Called the White House

Many people around the world know that the White House in Washington, D.C. is the residence of the President of the United States. It also houses the offices of the President. People might have wondered why it is called the “White House”, though. Unlike what some people might imagine, the reason has nothing to do with race or the color of the skin.

Although he never lived in the building, the site where the White House stands was selected by George Washington, the first president. The first president to reside in the White House was John Adams and Abigail Adams, his wife. They moved into the residence in 1800, although it wasn’t finished yet. (Every US president since John Adams has occupied the executive mansion, too.)

During the War of 1812, also known as the Revolutionary War, the British set fire to the building. That occurred in 1814. The residence was rebuilt and President Monroe was able to move into the house in 1817.

Originally, though, the White House was gray. That was the color of the native Virginia rock that was used in construction. The fire the British started in the building left soot and scorch marks, though. To cover the signs of the fire, the building was painted white.

It wasn’t called the White House at that time, however. In 1902, President Teddy Roosevelt started a major renovation. At a year earlier, at his behest, the executive mansion stationary started carrying the picture of the building. That was when the building started being referred to as the White House. Interestingly, that was roughly 80 years after it was originally painted white.

According to the official website for the White House, the residence contains “132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 levels in the Residence. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators”.

When the outside of the White House is painted, 570 gallons of white paint are required. That is a large amount of surface area and a correspondingly large amount of paint to paint it.

In any event, now you know why the White House is called the White House. Although it is called the White House and is well known by that name, the official name is still the Executive Mansion.


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Written by Rex Trulove

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  1. I primarily write here, only my own blogs, and on Quora. I make no money on Quora, but it does drive a lot of traffic to my other articles here and elsewhere. I also occasionally write for private clients, but that is different entirely.

    • In my profile for Quora, I said that I blog at Virily. Each time I answer a question on Quora, there is a spike in views on Virily, at least until a week or so ago when the site started going down so often.


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