The offical home of the President of the United States. Following the initial design of Washington, D.C. by Pierre L’Enfant, a contest was held to choose the design of the new "Presidental Palace." The winning design was done by James Hoban with construction beginning in October 1792. On November 1, 1800, President John Adams became the first occupant of the almost completed building. However, the White House's decor has never stayed constant. Each president changes it to suite their own personal tastes.
The White House, however, has not been immune to attacks. After the Battle of Bladensburg in the War of 1812 it was burned by the Canadians and then whitewashed to cover the burn marks which led people to call it the "White House." President Theodore Roosevelt made the name offical in 1901. In previous years, it was also known as the "Executive Suite," and the "President's House." Many of the rooms in the White House are known by their color. The Blue Room is a reception room, the Red Room serves as a small, informal dining area, and the Green Room is kind of a whatever room, being used from a dining room to a poker room. The Yellow Room is a sitting room, and was redecorated by Nancy Reagan. There also other famous rooms in the White House. The Map Room gained infamy for President Bill Cinton's famous apology about the "scandal," although it serves a private meeting room nowadays (Name comes from FDR's use of it to chart the course of World War II). There is also the China Room which you guessed it, house the White House China...most of the other rooms are pretty obviously named. Except for the East Room which is effectively a ballroom.
Many additions have been added to the White House since its initial construction and design obviously. In 1942 the current East Wing was added. The East Wing houses the President's theater, the visitor's entrance, and the East Colonnade. The location of the East Wing was that of a previous conservancy.
The West Wing is probably the most famous portion of the White House complex. It existed for many years as an seperate entity with the executive offices located in the residence itself. However, early on, President Thomas Jefferson was annoyed by this, and had terraces added on, however, these became used for anything but office space. Finally, in 1902, Theodore Roosevelt ordered the offices moved to the West Wing. The West Wing houses the Press Room, the Cabinet Room, the Roosevelt Room, the executive offices, and of course, the Oval Office. A fire occurred in the Wing in 1937.
Ah, the Oval Office, a symbol of the President as much as the White House. Built in 1909 it has been moved slightly from the south side of the West Wing to now overlooking the Rose Garden. The Oval Office is decorated as the president wishes, except for the marble mantle, U.S. and Presidential flags behind the desk and the Presidential Seal in the ceiling (How do you remove that anyway?).
The White House also hosts the traditional Easter Egg Roll and during World War I, sheep were allowed to graze on the lawn. It's also been the site of a few small plane landings...
1600 NW Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20502
Phone: (202) 456-1414
Fax: (202) 456-2461
* Thanks for sharing President George W. Bush (The response given when a British child at the British Museum asked what the White House was like).