Glimpse of White House History

Thursday, November 2nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A glimpse of White House history over two centuries:

—Nov. 1, 1800: President John Adams becomes the first president to live and work at the White House. George Washington had approved the site and the design by Irish-born architect James Hoban. The cornerstone was laid in 1792 and the house was built under Washington's personal supervision.

—Aug. 24, 1814: British troops brush aside American defenders, occupy Washington and burn the White House to its walls. President James Madison orders the House rebuilt just as it was.

—1817: President James Monroe moves into the rebuilt President's House, as it was then called, and equips it with stylish furniture purchased in Paris.

—1824: South Portico constructed following the design of architect Benjamin Latrobe.

—1829: North Portico facing Pennsylvania Avenue is built, completing the physical outer image of the White House as it is seen today.

—1902: President Theodore Roosevelt orders the name ``The White House'' used on all stationery and official documents, formalizing the nickname in casual use since workmen whitewashed the sandstone walls early in the 19th century. Roosevelt hires architect Charles McKim to sweep away the decorations of the Victorian era and transform the interior to the formal simplicity it still retains.

—1950s: President Harry S. Truman orders the interior of the White House gutted and rebuilt on a skeleton of steel beams on a concrete foundation, making the house safe and ensuring its continued use by American presidents.

—1990s: A light plane is deliberately crashed on the South Lawn, clipping branches of a magnolia planted by Andrew Jackson and scraping the White House wall. A gunman fires a rifle at the White House, leaving bullet marks on the north wall and drilling a hole through a window.

—Nov. 1, 2000: President Clinton celebrates the 200th anniversary of the president's house with a re-enactment of President Adams' arrival.