The White House

The White House stands as a symbol of the Presidency, the United States government, and the American People.  Its history began when President George Washington and the city planner Pierre L'Enfant choose the site for the residence.  Architect James Hoban won the award for his handsome design.  Construction began in 1792.  President Washington oversaw the construction of the house, but he never lived in it.  The first residents became President John Adams.  Since that time each president has lived there and has made his own changes and additions.  The House survived a fire at the hands of the British in 1814, and another fire in the West Wing in 1919.  During the Presidency of Harry Truman, the house was almost completely gutted and renovated.

Thomas Jefferson was the first president to open the White House for public tours.  As such, it is the only private residence of a head of state that is open to the public, free of charge.  Since 9/11 tours have been highly restricted, but they are still available though your local congressman's office.


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