George the White House starts in the

George Washington chose the site for the White House in
1791.  He set up a design competition to
choose the person who would construct the White House.  An architect named James Hoban was
selected.  The construction took more
than 8 years.  The White House was still
incomplete when President John Adams moved in 1800.  The British set fire to the White House
during the War of 1812 and destroyed most of it.  James Hoban was again chosen to rebuild the
White House.  The South Portico was
constructed in 1824.  Andrew Jackson had
the North Portico constructed in 1829. 
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House
its current name.  He also started a
major renovation.  He moved the
president’s office from the second floor to a newly constructed Executive
Office Building which is now known as the West Wing.  President Roosevelt’s renovations were done
by the New York architectural firm McKim, Mead and White.  President William Howard Taft had the Oval
Office constructed. The White House was beginning to show signs of structural
weakness and needed updating.  President
Harry Truman asked architect Lorenzo Winslow to do a complete renovation of the
White House.

 

Taking a tour of the White House starts in the East Wing
Lobby.  You then head down the East
Colonnade.  From there you get to visit
the movie theater.  The walls, chairs and
carpet are all red.  The East Garden Room
is a corner room on the ground floor of the East Wing.  It has access to the Jackie Kennedy Garden
and other parts of the south lawn grounds. 
It also serves as the visitors’ entrance for many White House
Events.  You then head into the Center
Hall on the ground floor.  The Center
Hall has numerous statues and portraits including one of Former First Lady
Laura Bush.  The Vermeil Room is sometimes
called the Gold Room.  It serves as a
display room and for formal occasions as a ladies’ sitting room.  The vermeil collection contains pieces from
different individuals such as English silversmith Paul Storr, the French
silversmith Jean-Baptiste-Claude Odiot and Philip Rundell of London.  On either side of the room are Boston work
tables made in the early 1800’s.  Along
the wall is a mahogany table with a marble top. 
It was made around 1805 in New York. 
The China Room started out as a cloak room in 1902.  Mrs. Woodrow Wilson turned it into the
presidential collection room in 1917. 
She wanted to display all the china the White House had.  Almost every past president is represented in
this room with some type of family china. 
The room is almost completely done in the color red.  There is a portrait of Mrs. Calvin Coolidge
displayed in the China Room.  Near the
portrait are Chippendale side chairs used by President George Washington.  The painting over the mantel is called “The View
on the Mississippi Fifty-Seven Miles Below St. Anthony Falls,
Minneapolis.”  This painting was
completed the year Minnesota became a state in 1858.  The East Room has gold curtains and very
large chandeliers.  It is the largest
room in the White House.  It is used for
dances, receptions, press conferences, ceremonies, concerts and banquets.  The Green Room was originally used as a
lodging room.  President James Madison
signed the nation’s first declaration of war in the Green Room.  This declaration of war was the beginning of
the War of 1812.  John Quincy Adams
decided to rename the room the Green Drawing Room in 1825.  President Grant changed the look by adding
emerald and gold wallpaper and matching green and gold furniture during his
time in office.  The Blue Room is the
center of the State Floor of the White House. 
It has been the traditional place for presidents to receive guests.  The color blue was chosen by Martin Van Buren
in 1837.  The room is done in French
style furniture.  There is a marble-top
center table that has been in the White House since 1817.  It sits under a very elaborate
chandelier.  The portrait that sits above
the sofa is of John Tyler from 1859.  In
1886, Grover Cleveland became the only president to get married in the Blue Room.  The Blue Room is the traditional location for
the main Christmas tree.  The Blue Room’s
door looks just like a window but can be used as a double door that allows
people to step onto the porch outside.  The
Red Room is used for receptions.  It’s furniture
dates between 1810 through 1830.  The
walls are covered with a red fabric with gold designs on the bottom of the
wall.  In 1801, the Red Room was listed
as a Breakfast Room but later called the President’s Antechamber.  During President Monroe’s time in office it
became the Yellow Drawing Room.  His wife
loved to have Wednesday night receptions in the Yellow Drawing Room.  The Red Room has been redecorated many times
throughout history.  The State Dining
Room has served as many different rooms over the years.  It has served as a drawing room, an office
and the Cabinet room.  It was named the
State Dining Room during President Andrew Jackson’s time in office.  Over the years, the room has also been
enlarged.  It can now seat as many as 140
guests.  Originally there was only one
fireplace in the room.  After the White
House was burned by British troops in the War of 1812, a second fireplace was
added to the State Dining Room during its reconstruction.  When the room is not in use, a large mahogany
table with Queen Anne style chairs are displayed.  President Lincoln’s portrait is hung over the
mantle of one of the fire places.  The
Old Family Dining Room is a smaller dining room next to the State Dining
Room.  In 1825, Mrs. John Quincy Adams
decided to use the room as the family’s dining room.  There have been 38 presidents that used this
room as their private breakfast room.  The
room is no longer used for the president’s or his family’s private meals.  It is now used for working luncheons with
foreign heads of state.  The room has
been redecorated to showcase modern art. 
The 1939 World’s Fair tea service is also showcased in this room.

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The White House is an enormous place.  It officially has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms and
6 levels. There are 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases and 3 elevators.

Every December, the White House is decorated for the
Christmas season.  This year’s theme is
“Time Honored Traditions.”  This year
there are 53 Christmas trees with over 12,000 ornaments and 18,000 feet of
Christmas lights.  There ae 71 wreaths
and a 350-pound Gingerbread house.  The
White House also has a tradition of displaying it’s 18th century
nativity scene in the East Room.