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White House

The White House

Welcome to the most famous address in the world – 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! Every President since John Adams has called the White House their home. Inspired by a courthouse in Charleston, South Carolina, President Washingon met with the architect of the courthouse, an Irish native named James Hoban. Construction of the White House began in October 1792 and wasn’t complete until the end of George Washington’s time as President. 

Like many buildings in Washington D.C, the White House was severely damaged by fire during the War of 1812, and much of the building and its wings had to be rebuilt. During the Civil War, the swamp surrounding the White House raised concerns of being an unhealthy, disease-prone area. Many Presidents during the 1900s conducted rennovations on the White House, each with their own personal touches. In 1948, the building was in such a poor state that President Truman had to move across the street for two years while it was completely renovated, for fear of the building collapsing. 

Jacqueline Kennedy, First Lady of John F. Kennedy, famously directed extensive redecoration of the White House, filling its halls with artifacts, antique furniture, and fine paintings with the help of wealthy donors. She also redesigned many of the rooms to suit a theme based on periods of world history and early American history; the Yellow Oval Room is designed in the style of Louis XVI of France, for example.

Since then, each president and their family have had their own touch on keeping the White House in shape, whether it be furniture refurbishments, installing wheelchair ramps, or adding in solar thermal heaters. 

In addition to being the home of the First Family, the White House hosts world dignitaries and a variety of seasonal traditions including the Easter Egg Roll and Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning.

The White House

Practical Information

Public tours are available from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, excluding Federal holidays.

Bus: 32, 33, 36 – 15th St NW & F NW

Free – find your member of Congress and contact information to request a tour no less than 21 days prior to your visit. If you’re an international visitor and wish to schedule a tour, please contact your home country’s embassy in Washington, DC.

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