20 Hush Hush Secrets About The White House That Only True Patriots Know

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    Though it may be hard to believe, the name "White House" wasn't used to refer to the presidential residence until Theodore Roosevelt adopted the moniker in 1901. Before then, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was known as the "President's Palace" and the "Executive Mansion"

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    The White House may appear to have stood the test of time, but the glossy mansion that sits on the grounds today isn't the original. In retaliation for the destruction of several British buildings during the Battle of York in 1812, the British army set the White House ablaze in 1814 and nearly burnt it to the ground.

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    Despite commissioning and supervising its construction, George Washington never actually lived in the White House. Washington's term as president ended shortly before the house was completed, making John Adams the first resident of the executive mansion.

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    Sorry, Graceland: the White House is easily the most popular residence in America. Aside from corralling droves of camera-happy tourists, White House staffers field 65,000 letters, 3,500 phone calls, 100,000 emails, and 1,000 faxes a day.

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    Like most old homes, the White House is reportedly haunted by a number of ghosts, including a soldier from the War of 1812 that's been spotted wandering the halls of the East Wing. But there's one ghost, in particular, that's had a number of presidential guests shaking in their boots…

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    Every President is known to put their own personal touch on the executive mansion, but some of them may have gone a little overboard. Franklin Roosevelt built an indoor pool, Nixon put in a private bowling alley, and Lyndon Johnson installed a high-pressure shower strong enough to pin a man against the wall!

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    Another White House hassle is move-in day when the new president and former president are expected to move in and out at the same time. In fact, staffers have only 12 hours to swap out all the furniture and tidy up the place on inauguration day.

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    While the White House may seem one-of-a-kind, it actually has a twin in Dublin, Ireland. James Hoban, who designed the presidential palace, was so inspired by the architecture of the Irish Parliament's Leinster House that he incorporated many of its features when designing the White House. But that's not all.

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    Described as a mini-mall by White House staff, the basement of the storied structure has become one of its liveliest floors. The former WWII bunker comes complete with a flower shop, chocolate shop, and even a dentist's office!

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    Life in the White House may seem luxurious, but living here is anything but a free ride. Not only does the President have to foot the bill for his stay in the home, but he's also expected to pay out of pocket for many of the White House's extravagant events.

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    In addition to presidents, the Oval Office has also seen a number of pets pass through its doors. Woodrow Wilson kept a herd of sheep on the grounds, and Teddy Roosevelt's daughter owned a snake named Emily Spinach. Yet these pets pale in comparison to the ones kept by Calvin Coolidge…

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    When Michelle Obama claimed that the White House was built by slaves, she wasn't lying. Not only do historic payroll documents show that enslaved workers were heavily used during the White House's construction, but immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and Scotland were also hired for the job.

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    Most people don't consider the White House to be a piece of real estate, but in reality, the presidential residence does have an established price tag. With 135 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 28 fireplaces, the 550,000-square-foot home is estimated to be worth a whopping $412 million.

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    Surprisingly, the White House also has another twin near Bordeaux, France.  The Château de Rastignac is an almost identical replica of the White House, and some suspect that Thomas Jefferson borrowed the concept from its designer, Mathurin Salat, during his time in France.

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    After noticing that the press break room was without a coffee machine during a White House visit in 2004, Tom Hanks went ahead and ordered one himself. He did so again in 2010 and even purchased the press corps an espresso machine in 2017 to go with their coffee.

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    Coolidge kept a literal zoo of animals on the White House grounds, including bears, lion cubs, wallabies, and a 600-pound pygmy hippo. Oh, and his wife Grace also kept a pet raccoon named Rebecca.

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    When electricity was first introduced to homes in 1891, many people were understandably skeptical about how safe electrical appliances really were. This included President Benjamin Harrison, who never touched a single light switch in the White House out of fear of being electrocuted.

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    That's right: ol' honest Abe himself! On more than one occasion, guests staying in Lincoln's bedroom reported seeing the ghost of the former president appear before them. In fact, Winston Churchill was once scared half to death after spotting Lincoln's ghost as he stepped out of the bathtub.

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    The White House may not have always been known as such, but it was definitely always white, right? Wrong! Before 1818, workers simply refreshed the house's lime-based whitewash every now and again, making it the "Kind-of-White House".

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    After firing architect and engineer Pierre L'Enfant, George Washington held a contest in order to solicit designs for the presidential estate. Little did he know that future president Thomas Jefferson — under the initials A.Z. — submitted a blueprint of his own in an effort to claim the $500 ($12,700 today) prize.


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