Even though President Washington chose the site of the president’s home, he never had the chance to live in it. In 1800, President Adams was the first person to live in the “White House,” which received its name because its white color stood out against the nearby buildings’ red bricks.
The federal government was moved from Philadelphia, PA, to Washington, D.C., so that it could be in a more centralized location of the nation—but once the location was decided upon, someone had to design the mansion. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson proposed a contest, where architects and builders could submit their plans for the President’s Home, and the winner would receive a $500 prize or a medal of the same value. The winner was James Hoban, an Irish immigrant, whose design was modeled after Leinster House in Dublin, Ireland.
The original drawings were much larger than what was first created, but Washington wanted to give future presidents the ability to change to meet the needs “beyond the present day.” Today, the White House has more than 130 rooms and 35 bathrooms, and takes more than 570 gallons of paint to cover its outside surface.