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Last Update: 2001-07-09.

6. Homework Help

6.4 Questions and Answers
6.4.5 White House History

1. What prize did James Hoban receive after winning the contest for designing the White House?
Nine proposals were submitted and Hoban, the winner, received a gold medal worth $500  for his design [WHHP 4, 8].

2. When did British troops burn down the White House? August, 1814 [BLSWH xii]

3. Who moved out of the White House because it was too dangerous to live in? Truman,  because the building was structurally unsound.  The same might be said of Madison.  He move out hurriedly in 1814.

4. How many rooms are in the White House currently? 132 [BLSWH xiii].

5. His father paid for a seascape mural to cover the walls of the swimming pool room at the White House. John F. Kennedy [DDWH 9]

6. A larger commode was installed for him with an extra large wooden seat. Lyndon B. Johnson, after he broke the seat of the old toilet. Reportedly, he would tell his male friends the story and say “Now, don’t anyone dare say it's to fit the Number One ass of the nation.” [DDWH 93]

7. He added a $100,000 sauna.  Richard Nixon [DDWH 269] to another building. [DDWH 302].

8. His wife liked to see the fountain on the White House grounds working, even in the winter, so an
electrical cable was added to heat the fountain in winter. Richard Nixon, February 1971 [DDWH 349]

9. He added the Oval Office to the White House. William H. Taft [BLSWH xii]

10. He installed the first elevator. Chester A. Arthur [BLSWH xii, 227]

11. When were gas lights installed in the White House? [gaslights, gas lighting] In 1848 under James K. Polk [BLSWH 225]

12. He enjoyed the soda Fresca so much, he had a special tap installed in the White House. Lyndon Johnson. The tap was located in a cubby hold just outside the oval office. [LJAD 6]

13. Which country supplied the craftsmen who cut and set the stone walls for the original White House construction? Scotland [BLSWH xi]

14. Who added the first indoor water closet?  Thomas Jefferson [BLSWH 197]

15. Who added cast iron stoves? Thomas Jefferson, 1809 [BLSWH 197]
[x:cast iron stove][x:stove, cast iron][x:White House, first cast iron stove]

16. Who added the first rudimentary central heat?  Martin Van Buren, in the 1830's. [BLSWH 197]

17. He moved out so the shaky attic and roof could be replaced with a third floor.  Calvin Coolidge [BLSWH 197]

18. He added the first plumbing and installed a "bathing room" on the ground floor.  Andrew Jackson [BLSWH 198]

19. How did the Queen's Bedroom get it's name?  The name refers to a room at the eastern end of the second floor of the White House.  Historically, it had been used to house clerks and secretaries and later was called the Rose Room and used as a bedroom for guests.  In the 1960's the guests included four queens:  Elizabeth of England, Wilhelmina and Juliana of the Netherlands and Frederika of Greece. And so it has since been known as "The Queen's Bedroom." [BLSWH 163-165]

20. Who first installed air conditioning in the White House?  FDR, in 1933 for the second floor rooms [BLSWH 228]. Although while Garfield lay dying in 1881 rudimentary air conditioning was rigged up for his comfort.

21. How long did President Truman live away from the White House during renovations? "Truman moved his family out for four years to restore the badly aging interior and reinforce the walls with steel ... " [AJC.1-L4] The reconstruction was finished in 1952. [BLSWH 228] "From 1949 to 1952 the White House was completely restored while the Truman family lived across the street in the Blair House." [WHHP 5]

22. What souvenirs did British Admiral George Cockburn take before burning the White House in 1814?  An old hat and a chair cushion  [BLSWH 210]

23. What's the link between the White House and the Titantic? Major Archibald Wilingham Butt was a member of the White House staff under Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.  He was a  "military aide, chief ceremonial and protocol expert, riding companion to Teddy, confidant to his wife, Edith and the only White House staffer to go down with the Titanic."  [BLSWH 201]

24. Who was the only president who had two daughters married in the White House? Woodrow Wilson. Jessie Wilson married Francis B. Sayre on November 25, 1913 and Nellie Wilson married William McAdoo on May 7, 1914. [BLSWH 195]

25.  Which president had a putting green installed on the White House lawn? Dwight D. Eisenhower

26. Because of his size he had a special bathtub installed in the White House. William H. Taft [BLSWH 155] According to a popular story, he got stuck in a normal size one.

27. Who was the first president to enjoy color television in the White House.  Dwight D. Eisenhower [IM 195]

28. Which President started the tradition of the Easter egg roll at the White House? Rutherford B. Hayes

29. He added a balcony off his second floor study in the White House. Harry S. Truman [PS  140] He was widely criticized for the change, but he claimed to have gotten the idea from Jefferson and never actually used the balcony himself. [PS 141]

30. Electric lights were first added during his term.  Benjamin Harrison, in 1891. [BLSWH 197]

31. He had the stables converted into a garage for four cars, all ordered in 1909. WIlliam H. Taft

32. Who was the president that refused to have smoking, dancing, card playing, and alcohol in the White House? Rutherford B. Hayes' [WTJB 27] wife Lucy was the instigator of the rules.  She was nicknamed "Lemonade Lucy" because of the alcohol ban.

33.  What president had the only child to die in the White House?  Abraham Lincoln [BLSWH 287-288]

34. Who planted the magnolia tree to the left of the south portico? Thomas Jefferson [IM 200]

35.  Who was the first president to have a phone on his work desk? Herbert Hoover [BLSWH 212, 228] [x:telephone, first on desk]

36. What object still remains in the White House since it's original occupancy?  The portrait of George Washington which Dolley Madison (or some say her servants)  rescued before the British burned the White House in 1814.

37. What is the address of the White House?  1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

38. Which President never lived in the White House/Executive Mansion?  George Washington

39. He refused to move into the White House until it was redecorated? Chester A. Arthur

40. He installed the first indoor water closet. Thomas Jefferson [BLSWH 197]
[x:indoor water closet][x:toilette][x:White House, first toilette]

41. He installed the first central heating system.  Martin Van Buren in the 1830's. [BLSWH 197] A primitive system was installed by Madison, but after the White House was burned, no system replaced it until 1840. [x:White House, first central heating system]

42. He ordered the first White House elevator.  James A. Garfield.  But it was up to his successor Chester A. Arthur to install it.

43. He ordered the creation of the Rose Garden.  John F. Kennedy.  It was created by Mrs. Paul "Bunny" Mellon. [BLSWH 234]

44. He had a console containing three television sets installed in the oval office, so he could watch the news simultaneously on three channels. Lyndon B. Johnson.  The console was located next to his desk and an identical one was installed in the White House living quarters. [LJAD 7]

45. Which president installed solar panels on the White House roof? Jimmy Carter.  Ronald Reagan had them removed.

46. Who was president when the bowling alley was installed in the White House? Harry S. Truman

47. Who was the only child of a sitting president [baby] born in the White House?  Ester Cleveland, second daughter of Grover Cleveland.

48. Where did Thomas Jefferson have his Office? In what is now the state dining room.

49. Who first began the White House china collection?  First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison.

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