5 Things You Didn't Know About The White House

On August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812, British troops entered Washington, D.C. and set fire to the White House.  Here are 5 fascinating facts you probably didn’t know about the White House...


The White House Was Named by President Theodore Roosevelt There’s nothing like the obvious, but Teddy Roosevelt gave an official name to the presidential residence in 1901 by naming it the White House. Before this, it was called by different names such as the “President’s Palace” and “Presidential Mansion.” A major renovation of the building began in 1902, including relocating the offices of the president from the second floor to what later became the West Wing.

Abraham Lincoln Never Slept in The Lincoln Bedroom For the first hundred years of its existence, the White House didn’t have purpose-built offices, and each president had to choose a room to work in, which was usually a converted bedroom upstairs. Abraham Lincoln  used the Second-Floor room now known as the Lincoln Bedroom as his office and Cabinet Room. During the Truman renovation, the room was furnished in the Victorian style, incorporating several Lincoln-era pieces of furniture, including a rosewood bed purchased by First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln for placement in a White House guest room.


It Did Not Have Running Water Until 1833 Running water was introduced into the White House in 1833. Initially its purpose was to supply the house with drinking water and to fill reservoirs for protection against fire. Very soon, a "bathing room" was established in the east wing to take advantage of the fine water supply. The room featured a cold bath, a shower, and a hot bath heated by coal fires under large copper boilers. Central heat was added in 1837 at a time when most people warmed themselves with a coal or log fire, and gas lighting did not replace the oil lamps and candles until 1848.

It Takes A Lot Of Paint To Keep It White It is estimated that around 570 gallons of white paint are used to keep the White House its proper color. The paint used is made by Duron and named “Whisper White.” In 2019, the entire exterior was given a fresh coat of paint at $150 per gallon, so to freshen the outside of the building cost $85,000, according to the White House Historical Association.

Willie Nelson Once Lit Up On The Roof Of The White House If there is one musician who knows his way around marijuana, it is country music legend, Willie Nelson. President Jimmy Carter once invited him to spend the night at the White House after a concert. In Nelson’s autobiography, he said he found his way up to the roof but apparently not just for the view. While he was there he said he smoked a “fat Austin torpedo.”