The White House
In Washington, DC, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a very special address. It’s the address of the White House, the home of the President of the United States.
Originally the White House was grey and was called the Presidential Palace. It was built from 1792 to 1800. At this time, the city of Washington itself was being built. It was to be the nation’s new capital city. George Washington, the first president, and Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a French engineer, chose the place for the new city. L’Enfant then planned the city and the President’s home was an important part of the plan.
A contest was held to pick a design for the president’s home. An architect named James Hoban won. He designed a large three-story house of grey stone.
President Washington never lived in the Presidential Palace. The first president to live there was John Adams, the second president of the United States, and his wife. Mrs. Adams did not really like her new house. In her letters, she often complained about the cold. Fifty fireplaces were not enough to keep the house warm!
In 1812 the United States and Britain went to war. In 1814 the British invaded Washington. They burned many buildings, including the Presidential Palace.
After the war James Hoban, the original architect, partially rebuilt the president’s home. To cover the marks of the fire, the building was painted white. Before long it became known as the White House.
The White House is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States. Every year more than 1.5 million visitors go through the five rooms that are open to public.