It’s bigger than you think
Via White House Flickr
Although it’s relatively modest in terms of today’s sprawling mansions, the White House was the country’s biggest house until after the American Civil War. It has 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms on six levels, as well as 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators. It is 168 feet long by 85 feet wide (without porticoes), 70 feet tall on the south side and 60 feet 4 inches tall on the north side. The building and grounds are sprawled across 18 acres. You would never guess that these presidential “quotes” that are actually completely false.
It was torched by British soldiers
Via Library of Congress
During the War of 1812, British soldiers invaded the White House in 1814, setting it aflame in retaliation for U.S. soldiers who were torching buildings in York, Ontario. The fire completely destroyed the interior and roof of the building. President James Madison called for immediate reconstruction, summoning the return of the original designer, James Hoban. Madison and his wife were never able to return to the White House, but reconstruction was completed in time for newly elected President James Monroe to move there in 1817. Check out these surprising legacies left behind by U.S. presidents.
It didn’t have an official name until 1901
Via U.S. National Archives Flickr
Although it’s been the official residence of all U.S. presidents since 1800, the building wasn’t formally deemed the “White House” until President Theodore Roosevelt used it on his stationary in 1901. Prior to that, it was referred to as “the President’s House” or “the President’s Mansion.” Some theorists say that the name originated after the fire of 1814, when the smoke-stained walls were painted over with white paint, although historians state that this myth is largely unfounded. What’s not a myth are these items that used to be banned in the White House.