Today in 1800, President John Adams moved into an unfinished building in Washington, DC, known as the president’s house and known better today as the White House.
There’s a story that’s often told that the White House was painted white after it was burned in the War of 1812, but actually it was always white.
The architect was James Hoban, who modeled the building after a villa in Dublin known as Leinster House.
During construction in the 1790s, the workers, enslaved Black people as well as free Black and European laborers, covered the exterior with a whitewash made from lime.
The whitewash was really only supposed to fill in the pores of the Virginia sandstone, but each time crews added more of it, people in Washington got used to the building being white.
By the 1810s people had started using the name “The White House” as a nickname; it would become the official name in 1901.
In 1818 the Executive Mansion got its first coat of actual white paint.
Repainting has typically taken place every four to six years afterward, and it’s not a small task.
The White House Historical Association says one repainting job takes 570 gallons of paint.
For most of the building’s history, painters would just paint on top of the previous work, at least until the walls couldn’t hold any more layers.
In 1980, crews removed all the old paint; some areas had as many as 40 layers!
They made some repairs to the original stone and then put on a fresh coast of white.
Now, anyone who’s ever tried repainting any part of a house knows that there are actually quite a few varieties of white paint.
If they wanted to be super-accurate about the specific paint color used on the president’s home today, they’d have to call the building the Whisper White House.
Today is National Calzone Day.
Peppebroni’s in West Virginia offers the Coliseum Calzone challenge.
It’s a round calzone, about 10 pounds of food in all.
If you and a friend can finish the whole thing in 75 minutes, it’s free.
And if you can’t it’s 60 bucks.
It takes a lot of work to keep the White House painted white! (White House Historical Association on Twitter)
The Biggest Calzone In The World Is Melt In Your Mouth Good At This West Virginia Pizza Joint (Only In West Virginia)
Image from Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of International Business Machines Corporation 1848, via Creative Commons