Constructed over a period of eight years at the cost of 2,32,371 dollars and completed in the year 1800, the White House is considered as the best residential address in the entire USA. (See photo.) It is situated amidst a sprawling 18 acre estate in Washington and has six stories including the basement. This photogenic building has 135 rooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, 8 staircases, 3 lifts, 2 porticoes and 1 cinema theater spread over 5,100 square meters (55,000 square feet) carpet area. But today’s White House is its second incarnation because the original building was burned down in 1814.
A conflict known as ‘war of 1812’ had broken out between Great Britain and the USA as the former wanted to establish hegemony over the latter in maritime matters during the Napoleonic Wars. The British army was garrisoned in Canada so the US army invaded Canada and in the ensuing battle destroyed its parliament house. The British army under General Robert Ross retaliated by capturing the US capital, Washington DC. The British soldiers set fire to the US parliament house and then turned their attention towards the White House. President James Madison and his wife had already escaped to safety. But the British army pillaged the sculptures, paintings and other valuable items from the White House and then set it on fire. After the end of the war in 1815 both, the House of Congress as well as the White House, were reconstructed on such a vast scale that they hardly resemble the original buildings.
White House (Wikipedia)