The History of the White House
By V. I. Andronache
The White House, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., in Washington DC, has been the home of every U.S. president since John Adams. The presidential mansion is situated on some 18 acres (7.3 hectares) of land amid a parklike setting. The building’s main section measures 170 feet (52 meters) long and 85 feet (26 meters) deep. Its 2½ stories are mounted on an English basement, which, because of the slope of land, becomes a ground floor, on the south side. Two wings flank the original structure. The West Wing was constructed in 1902, following a Congressional appropriation of $ 65,196. It contains the Oval (presidential) Office, the Roosevelt or staff meeting room, a reception room, and the Cabinet Room. French doors within the president’s office open onto the Rose Garden, which continues to follow the plan of an 18th century flower garden. The president regularly receives official visitors in the Rose Garden. The East Wing was built in 1942 and contains offices for presidential aids. The Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, so named by Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson in honor of her predecessor, is off the East Wing and is used by the First Lady as a reception area.
Prior to 1902, the ground floor served as the president’s work area. This floor now features the Library, which was completely reorganized in 1962; the Vermeil or Gold Room, which serves as a display room as well as a ladies’ sitting room; the China or “Presidential Collection Room,” which includes a wide exhibit of White House China; the Diplomatic Reception Room, formerly a boiler room; and the Map Room, from which president Franklin Delano Roosevelt monitored the events of World War II.
Although the rooms of the first (state) floor have been refurbished many times over the years, the floor has not changed architecturally