History Of The White House: Facts And Trivia You Didn't Know About The Building

A view of the south facade of the White House in Washington. (Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

When Was The White House Built?

George Washington recognized the need for a presidential home and even selected the site for the White House in 1791, but he never lived in it. Construction of the building began in 1792 with the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone, but eight years later, when President John Adams was elected, the house was still unfinished. Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved in anyway, becoming the first residents in White House history, and the work continued around them until construction on the White House was finished later in 1800. It's a truly impressive building: With six floors spanning a total of 55,000 square feet, it houses 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, eight staircases, three elevators, and 412 doors. No wonder it took so long to build.