The White House is the official residence and workplace of the United States of America
's Presidents, except for George Washington, who lived in Philadelphia, at the President's House. It is near the US Capitol House
and the Mall, with the widely known address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C. The very sight of the White House evokes the power and strength held by this great country. A visit to Washington D.C.
will never be complete without a trip to the White House.
Originally called the Executive Mansion, it was dubbed the White House when its exterior sandstone walls were painted white. The name "White House" was made official by an Act of Congress in 1902. Construction on the White House began in 1792. It took around 8 years to complete the building, only for it to be torched in 1814. British troops burned the White House, along with the Treasury, the War Department and the Capitol. Rebuilding was undertaken by James Hoban. Since then, it has experienced quite a number of renovations, additions and extensions.
Each president who lived in the White House left his own mark on the place. Andrew Jackson will probably be much appreciated because of the running water he had installed, while Thomas Jefferson had terraces installed to the west and east wings. Harry Truman had a porch added while Bill Clinton got his exercise from an indoor running track he had installed.
Today, the six-floor building is made up of the Executive Residence, plus the West and East Wings. It has a Ground Floor, State Floor, a two-storey basement as well as the Second and Third Floors. The White House has over 5,000 square meters of floor space, divided into 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms. There are also 147 windows, 412 doors, 8 staircases, three elevators and 28 fireplaces. For entertainment, there is a movie theater, a bowling alley, swimming pool, jogging track and a putting green.
Two colonnades on both sides of the Executive Residence connect it to the two wings. The Executive Residence includes the President's living quarters, ceremonial rooms and halls for entertaining. This is where you will find the Entrance and Cross Halls, the East Room, Red Room, Blue Room, Green Room, Family Dining Room and many other rooms that hold their own special story. These rooms are built with a special theme in mind – the various periods in U.S. and world history. The Blue Room is inspired by the French Empire, the Green Room by the Federal style, while the Red Room is decorated with the American Empire in mind. The Yellow Oval Room, also called the Treaty Room is in the tradition of Louis XVI
Meanwhile, the West Wing is where you will find the Oval Office, plus offices of the president's senior staff. It also houses the White House Situation Room, Press Briefing Room, Cabinet Room and Roosevelt Room. The East Wing, on the other hand, is considered the First Lady's domain. It also features an underground bunker called the Presidential Emergency Operations Center.
Tours to the White House are free. Be sure to plan your visit when it's open – Tuesdays to Saturdays. Remember to where the prescribed attire, otherwise, you will not be allowed inside. Also, even though it is free, you still will need to line up for tickets to the tours. Come early so that you can grab enough for your group.