EA Tours Blog
Hi educational travelers!
I’m back with another guest post about the White House from Jeff Stabins. Enjoy!
A student trip to Washington D.C. would not be complete without a visit to the White House. The official residence of the most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States, is also known as the people’s house. Built primarily by African-American slaves in the late 1790’s, it is now home to Barack Obama. It is six stories high with approximately 55,000 square feet of living space. The White House has 132 rooms and sits on eighteen acres of land. It was the largest house in America until after the Civil War. President George Washington commissioned the construction of the Executive Mansion but never actually lived in it. President John Adams moved into the building at the end of his term. Every president since him has lived there for at least part of their time in office. Known for more than a century as the Executive Mansion or the President’s house, it wasn’t officially declared “the White House” until 1901 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
The White House has had numerous renovations over the years beginning in 1814 after the British invaded Washington and torched the building, destroying all but its outer walls. The First Lady, Dolley Madison, acted quickly before evacuating, and saved a famous full length portrait of George Washington which still hangs in the White House to this day. The north and south porticoes were added in the 1820’s giving the structure its basic look which remains to this day. In 1902 the Roosevelt’s completely renovated the house, doubling the living space for the first family, adding a new wing for the president and his staff and providing an area on the east for receiving guests. Severe structural issues were discovered after President Harry Truman took office requiring major renovations throughout the home. He would spend most of his presidency at Blair House across the street while the White House was gutted and rebuilt.
Student tour participants and teachers are always amazed with what they see and learn when visiting the White House. Radical terrorists tried and failed to destroy the symbol of America’s presidency in 2001. Today, the White House stands tall and remains open almost daily for educational tours. The people’s house is one place that must be seen on an educational student tour visiting Washington D.C.
Until next time,