White House, Washington, District of Columbia

In 1790 George Washington and Pierre L’Enfant, the city planner for the District of Columbia, select the site for the President’s official residence on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. A competition is held and nine proposals are submitted. James Hoban’s design is selected for its “practical and handsome design.” The corner stone is laid in 1792 and construction continues for eight years.

Throughout its history the White House undergoes many renovations and survives fires in 1814 and 1929, but maintains its original Federal/Greek revival-style architecture. Exterior renovations include the addition of porticos on the north and south façade in 1829. Interior renovations include a complete “gutting” during Harry Truman’s presidency. The balustrade along the roof line, Ionic porticos on the north and south façade, fanlights and sculpted swags are some of the building’s most memorable architectural features. The Oval Office, named for its distinctive oval shape, is not original to the building but is added by President Taft in 1909. Damaged in the 1929 fire, the President’s primary office is rebuilt in 1929 by Herbert Hoover.
White House, Washington, District of Columbia
White House, south portico
White House, swag
White House, Oval Office