|Building the President’s House |
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|Starting in 1792, the labor force that built the President’s House (as the White House was first known) included stonecrafters recruited from Edinburgh-based trade organizations called Masonic Lodges. These Scottish Freemasons trained enslaved African people, local white laborers, and European immigrants how to quarry and cut Aquia Creek sandstone in Virginia, ferry it down the Potomac River, and hoist it over a timber frame. |
The original mansion, designed by Irish architect James Hoban, was finished in 1800, burned by British troops in 1814, and then rebuilt over two years, but it wasn’t officially named the White House until 1901.
Teddy Roosevelt ordered the building of the West Wing, William Howard Taft added the Oval Office, and in 1948, Harry S. Truman had that original timber frame reconstructed in steel, then upcycled as wood paneling for several rooms in the house.
Jackie Kennedy later oversaw an extensive interior renovation of the White House, which she shared with America in, “A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy,” a TV special shown in 1962 on all three major networks. For a more modern gander at the White House, you can binge shows like The West Wing, House of Cards, Veep, and Scandal.
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