In Washington, D.C., 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue is a very special address. It is the address of the White House, the
home of the president of the United States.
Originally the White House was gray and
was called the Presidential Palace. It was built from 1792 to 1800. At this
time, the city of Washington itself was being built. It was to be the nation's
new capital city. George Washington, the first president, and Pierre Charles
L'Enfant, a French engineer, chose the place for the new city. L'Enfant then
planned the city. The president's home was an important part of the plan.
A contest was held to pick a design for
the president's home. An architect named James Hoban won. He designed a large
three-story house of gray stone.
President Washington never lived in the
Presidential Palace. The first president to live there was John Adams, the
second president of the United States, and his wife. Mrs. Adams did not really
like her new house. In her letters, she often complained about the cold. Fifty
fireplaces were not enough to keep the house warm!
In 1812 the United States and Britain
went to war. In 1814 the British invaded Washington. They burned many
buildings, including the Presidential Palace.
After the war James Hoban, the original
architect, partially rebuilt the president's home. To cover the marks of the
fire, the building was painted white. Before long it became known as the White
House. The White House is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the
United States. Every year more than 1.5 million visitors go through the five
rooms that are open to the public.