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The White House

The White House

The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. It has been the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams in 1800.

The house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia Creek sandstone in the Neoclassical style. When Thomas Jefferson moved into the house in 1801, he (with architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe) expanded the building outward, creating two colonnades that were meant to conceal stables and storage.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, the mansion was set ablaze by the British Army in the Burning of Washington, destroying the interior and charring much of the exterior. Reconstruction began almost immediately, and President James Monroe moved into the partially reconstructed Executive Residence in October 1817. Construction continued with the addition of the South Portico in 1824 and the North in 1829.

Because of crowding within the executive mansion itself, President Theodore Roosevelt had all work offices relocated to the newly constructed West Wing in 1901. Eight years later, President William Howard Taft expanded the West Wing and created the first Oval Office which was eventually moved as the section was expanded. The third-floor attic was converted to living quarters in 1927 by augmenting the existing hip roof with long shed dormers. A newly constructed East Wing was used as a reception area for social events; Jefferson’s colonnades connected the new wings.

Public tour requests must be submitted through one’s Member of Congress. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted).

The White House Visitor Center, located at 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, offers visitors a window into the president’s iconic home. The visitor center is open from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. daily (except January 1,Thanksgiving, and December 25). Admission is free.

Visitors can explore an interactive touchscreen tour of the White House, view over 90 artifacts from the White House collection, shop at the White House Historical Association retail store, and view the 14 minute film, “White House: Reflections From Within.” Visit the information desk to inquire about special ranger programs and events at President’s Park.

The closest Metrorail stations to the White House are Federal Triangle & McPherson Square  both on the (orange, silver and blue lines), and Metro Center (orange, silver, blue and red lines).  On-street parking is not available near the White House, and use of public transportation is strongly encouraged.