Welcome to the White House

January 15, 2009 

Sources for text: The White House Historical Association Web site, www.whitehousehistory.org; the White House Web site, J T

ARTWORK BY MARTHA A. THIERRY, DETROIT FREE PRESS, WWW.WHITEHOUSE.GOV; AND, "THE WHITE HOUSE: THE HOUSE OF THE PEOPLE,", PUBLISHED BY THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF PRESIDENTIAL STUDENT CORRESPONDENCE., SOURCES: MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE; LIFE; "THE WHITE HOUSE, AN ARC

ON A ROLL-

Thousands of kids, ages 8 and younger, visit the White House the Monday after Easter for an egg roll on the world-famous lawn. Some 30,000 to 40,000 people take part in the annual event. The tradition dates back to the Rutherford B. Hayes administration -- the first event was held in 1878. The president invites special guests to the popular event.

IT'S YOUR HOUSE, TOO!

The White House belongs to all Americans, and we can tour it both in person and online. Visit www.whitehouse.gov/history/tours.

BLESS THIS HOUSE

There is a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln in the State Dining Room. Below the picture, carved in the mantel, are the words President John Adams wrote on his second night in the White House: "I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof."

he White House has served as the home of the president of the United States for more than 200 years. In 1800, our second president, John Adams, and his wife, Abigail, moved into the stately and gracious home.

Of course, it's also where the president works and meets important guests. And it's an American museum that millions of people visit every year. Here, we take you on a tour of the country's most famous address.

When and why did we build the White House?

President George Washington signed an act of Congress in December 1790 that stated that the federal government would reside in a district "not exceeding 10 miles square ... on the river Potomac." President Washington selected the site and oversaw the construction of the house, but never lived in it. He died before it was completed. The house was first called the President's House.

How big is it?

It has 132 rooms, including 17 rooms for family and guests, three kitchens and 32 bathrooms. There are 412 doors, 147 windows and 28 fireplaces. The president does most of his work in the Oval Office, and the first family lives on the top two floors. Some of the cool features include a movie theater, swimming pool, one-lane bowling alley and tennis courts.

Does the White House have a yard?

It sure does -- a big one! The White House fence encloses 18 acres of beautiful green lawns and gardens. The presidents and first ladies leave their mark by planting trees that are labeled with small plates. It requires more than a dozen people to keep the grounds in tip-top shape. Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon Johnson, created the White House's first Children's Garden in 1969.

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