Alexa White House: A monstrous residence 

Dhaka, Saturday   07 December 2019

White House: A monstrous residence 

 Obaydulla daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 10:35 PM, 15 September 2019  

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

The White House is the most famous home in America which is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. The White House is both the home of the President of the United States and his family and a museum of American history. The White House is a place where history continues to create. But somethings are in here which make it monstrous that must you be surprised.  

 

A short history of White House

Washington, D.C. is one of the only cities in the world that was designed before it was built. After completing all tasks to make the proper city it was time to decide what kind of house to build for the president. George Washington, the first president of the United States, selected the site for the White House in 1791. Competition among architects was organized to design the White House. Nine proposals were submitted, and Irish-born architect James Hoban’s design was accepted. Construction work began on October 13, 1792, according to Hoban’s design.

Although President Washington oversaw the construction of the house, he never lived in it. It was not until 1800 (after eight years of construction) when the White House was nearly completed, its first residents, President John Adams and his wife Abigail, moved in. During the War, the British set fire to the President’s House in 1814.

Lawmakers then wanted to take the White House to another city. But in the end, Hoban was called back and the renovation began. After the reforms, President James Monroe moved into the building in 1817. 

The White House had many reforms in the nineteenth century, but in the twentieth century, it was modernized. President Theodore Roosevelt, Howard Taft, Harry S. Truman came to the White House with various new installations, including the West Wing, the Oval Office.  Later, the presidents worked to change and reform their personal preferences. Every president since John Adams has occupied the White House. The White House was the biggest house in the United States until the Civil War.

How did the White House get its name?

Many people are in a popular myth that the White House was first painted white to cover the scorch marks left after the British soldiers set fire to the house during the War of 1812.

Actually, the White House first gained a lime-based whitewash in 1798 to protect the exterior stone from moisture and cracking during winter freezes. The term “White House” was occasionally used before the War of 1812, with the phrase appearing in newspapers in the first decade of the 19th century.

In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt officially named the Executive Mansion the “White House”. Before that, the White House had been called several names, including the “President’s House”, and the “Executive Mansion”.

 

What have in the White-House? 

There are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 levels in the Residence. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators. The massive building contains three distinct sections - the West Wing, the East Wing, and the Executive Residence in the middle. The West Wing contains some of the most notable rooms in the White House. Among these are the Oval Office, the Situation Room, and the Roosevelt Room. Besides, there are also some interesting rooms in the Executive Residence and the East Wing. 

This is what's inside the Executive Residence and the East Wing of the White House:

 

The Oval Office

The president's main office is the Oval Office. It contains the famous Resolute Desk as well as several paintings, busts and other decorations. Presidents decorate the office to their personal taste.

 

Right outside the Oval Office is the White House Rose Garden, which is used for special ceremonies and to greet distinguished guests.

 

The West Colonnade walkway

The West Colonnade walkway also referred to as the "45-second commute" by insiders, leads from the Oval Office to the Rose Garden and to the official residence.

 

Cabinet Room

The Cabinet Room is where the president meets with his ministers. It's customary for the president to sit in the middle of the table.

 

Situation Room

On the ground floor, there is the Situation Room- a 5,000 square-foot complex where the president receives intelligence and crisis support. The Situation Room is run by staff from the National Security Council.

Although it's called the Situation Room, it actually consists of a few rooms. The chamber was built in 1961, under President John F. Kennedy. There are currently two conference rooms in the Situation Room. There are 40 seats in one room. The other is relatively small where former President Barack Obama and his administration officials were monitoring the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011 by the US military.

The most secret issues of the United States are discussed here regularly. Only certain individuals have access to the Situation Room. They also have access without all kinds of communication devices to entry the Situation Room. In addition, this room is used to make important decisions in dealing with national disasters.

 

Roosevelt Room

Another famous West Ring room is the Roosevelt Room. The meeting space is often used to announce appointments and nominations of new staff members. It features paintings of both Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

 

The office of the vice president is also located in the West Wing.

 

Press Briefing Room

The White House press briefing was called the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room. President Bill Clinton named the cell in honor of former White House press secretary James Brady. James Brady was the Press Secretary to the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Brady was seriously injured when he was shot during the trying of killing president Ronald Reagan in 1981. Then he (Brady) had to spend a lifetime sitting in a wheelchair.

The Room is where the White House press secretary gives briefings to the news media. The White House press corps' office is located right next door.

 

Map Room

The Map Room, located on the Residence's ground floor, is used for small social gatherings and television interviews.

During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt used the room to consult maps to track the war's progress, from then the room called “Map Room”.

Later presidents migrated to the Situation Room to do the same works as Roosevelt. One notable map hanging on the walls pays homage to the Roosevelt era: a map of Europe showing Germany's latest positions in the spring of 1945, shortly after Roosevelt's death.

China Room

The White House China Room sits near the Map Room on the Residence's ground floor. The China Room was designated by first lady Edith Wilson in 1917 to house the White House's growing collection of state china.

 

Blue Room

The first floor of the residence contains the Blue Room. The oval-shaped room, which the president uses to formally receive guests, features blue upholstery, blue curtains, and blue carpet. It has stayed the same color since 1837.

East Room

The East Room is the largest room in the Executive Residence. It is used for speeches, ceremonies, concerts, receptions, and dances.

Truman Balcony

The second-floor Truman Balcony overlooks the south lawn. President Harry Truman made a radical change in his time at the White House. Truman's balcony was one of those.

Music Room

When Bill Clinton was the president, Hillary Clinton turned this sitting room on the third floor of the White House residence into a music room. She had done it because Bill Clinton could play the saxophone. 

Workout Room

Next to the Music Room on the third floor is the Workout Room, where presidents and their families can exercise at any time of the day. Before the 1990s, the room was a guest room and a sitting room.

Chocolate Shop

The Chocolate Shop is one of several kitchens in the White House. Located on the ground floor of the Residence, the Chocolate Shop is where chefs make desserts and centerpieces for White House function.

It's also where chefs prepare eggs for the annual Easter Egg Roll and assemble the gingerbread replica of the White House that graces the building each holiday season.

Bowling Alley

Near the Chocolate Shop on the Residence's ground floor is the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley. It is an off-the-beaten-path favorite for visitors to the White House.

The first White House Bowling Alley was built for Harry Truman in 1947, and Richard Nixon moved it to its current location below the entrance to the North Portico in 1969.

 

Family Theater

The theater is located in the East Wing of the White House. The President's family can come here and watch any movie at any time of day. They even have the opportunity to watch a movie before it's released. The theater was created by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Navy Mess

On the ground floor of the West Wing next to the Situation Room, you'll find the Navy Mess, a small dining facility run by the US Navy.

The dining room seats about 50 people and is not available to the public, but if you're lucky, you could score an invitation from a senior White House official or cabinet secretary.

Calligraphy Office

It is located on the second floor of the White House's East Wing, the Graphics and Calligraphy Office is where the small team of White House calligraphers prepares designs of invitations and greetings for formal events.

Private Study

Moving over to the West Wing, the Private Study or Oval Office Study is a small working space immediately across from the Oval Office. It also contains a private bathroom and a kitchenette.

The White House also has a variety of rooms, including game rooms, solarium, and flower shops.

Requirements for visiting the White House

Public tours of the White House are free of charge and can be scheduled through your congressional representative. Touring the White House requires some advance planning. Public tour requests must be made through your member of Congress and submitted up to three months in advance and 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.

People are encouraged to submit their tour requests as early as possible as tours fill up quickly and a limited number of spaces are available. Tours are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. All White House tours are free.

For complete details on White House tours, visit the White House tours and events page or call the White House Visitors Office 24-hour information line at (202) 456-7041.

Some White House Facts You May Not Know 

  • At various times in history, the White House has been known as the “President’s Palace,” the “President’s House,” and the “Executive Mansion.”
  • President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.
  • The White House requires 570 gallons of paint to cover its outside surface.
  • The White House kitchen is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors d’oeuvres to more than 1,000.
  • Early in the White House, there was no access to wheelchairs. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a polio patient. He took the wheelchairs at the White House after taking office as president in 1933.
  • Historians believe Hoban based his White House design on a local Dublin residence, the Leinster House, the Georgian style home of the Dukes of Leinster.
  • Many of the workers hired to build the White House were African Americans, some were slaves.
  • George Washington started working in the White House, but he could not stay here. He died in 1799 before construction was finished.

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