How has the White House changed through the years?


Quick Answer

Originally built in 1790, then rebuilt after it was destroyed in 1814, the White House has undergone numerous renovations, including the additions of the South and North porticos in 1824 and 1829; the construction of the executive wing, which included the Oval Office in 1909; and a 1945 structural correction that installed steel-beam supports throughout the interior. Throughout the history of the presidency, the White House has been modified to meet the needs of those who work and reside there.

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Full Answer

The original White House was built in a neoclassical design by architect James Hoban. The landmark's second occupant, Thomas Jefferson, added water closets and colonnades to the estate. After British troops burned the White House in 1814, Hoban returned to rebuild the structure, staying true to the original design.

During Theodore Roosevelt's administration, builders added an executive wing to accommodate overcrowding in the work offices of the executive mansion. William Taft expanded this West Wing to include the Oval Office, which was relocated during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidency.

Renovators transformed the attic into living quarters in 1927. Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of John F. Kennedy, spearheaded a major interior redecoration of the White House in the early 1960s, which included an emphasis on historic aesthetics. Beginning in 1969, builders added a porte-cochere, a circular drive and a press briefing room.

Most presidential administrations have included some type of renovation at the White House, ranging from the redecoration of certain rooms to the more recent installation of solar panels on the White House roof. As of September 2015, the White House has 142 rooms throughout six floors for an approximate square footage of 55,000 feet.

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