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Creepy Ghosts, Hidden Bunkers, Mice Infestations and Other White House Secrets Revealed

Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About the White House!

Jul. 4 2024, Published 4:02 p.m. ET

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The White House is the best-known home in the world — and since it was constructed more than 220 years ago, the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has seen it all! Here are some interesting facts about the “Executive Mansion.”

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Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About the White House
Source: Unsplash

The White House happens to be one of the most famous haunted houses in America.

    • It was called “the President’s House” or “the President’s Mansion” until Teddy Roosevelt dubbed it the White House on his official stationary in 1901.
    • It’s the most famous haunted house in America! The ghost of Abigail Adams has been spotted going toward the East Room, where she used to hang her laundry. And First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln told friends she heard Andrew Jackson stomping and swearing through halls. The most familiar spirit is Abraham Lincoln, who has been seen by a myriad of guests, including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during a stay in World War II.
    • You could call it the Presidents’ Zoo! Besides dogs, cats, horses, birds and hamsters, Thomas Jefferson kept two bear cubs, Martin Van Buren had a pair of tiger cubs, James Buchanan had two bald eagles, Calvin Coolidge had raccoons and two gifted pygmy hippos — and Grover Cleveland raised chickens on the grounds.
  • Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About the White House
    Source: Unsplash

    The first family gets a grocery bill every months like the rest of us.

    • The visible house is just the tip of the iceberg — underground are top-secret command centers, bunkers and other quarters.
    • During a changeover in residents after an election, more than 100 ushers and movers have just six hours to make the transition ... and White House chefs have to make sure they have the new First Family’s favorite foods and dietary requirements on hand.
    • Incoming first families can redecorate their private quarters with items from the collection of museum-quality artifacts acquired over the years, including pricey artworks, antiques, four-poster beds and unique gifts from dignitaries. But there’s no original furniture as British troops burned it all in 1814.
    • Contrary to belief, all is not free: The first family pays for personal food and expenses and gets a grocery bill every month like the rest of us.
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    Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About the White House
    Source: Unsplash

    Harry S. Truman had a two-lane bowling alley installed in 1947.

    • First family amateur chefs can work their magic in the private kitchen within their living quarters.
    • Only American wines are served in the White House!
    • Among the White House’s 3,300 full-time staffers are massage therapists who are on call 24/7/365!
    • Clever first kids can sneak onto the roof! And sliding down banisters are a rite of passage ... but they still have to keep their rooms clean!
    • Harry S. Truman had a bowling alley installed.
    • Barack Obama added a beehive to the grounds in 2009.
  • Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About the White House
    Source: Unsplash

    The White House had an infestation of mice in 2017.

    • In years past, if you visit and hear staffers use the phrase “They’re discussing the Bosnian problem,” it meant the president and first lady were enjoying some “private time.”
    • Thomas Jefferson’s 1805 basketball court is one of the oldest in the U.S.
    • The original cornerstone hasn’t been seen since it “vanished” less than 24 hours after it was installed in 1792. Some think it’s embedded between two stone walls near the Rose Garden.
    • In 1994, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton promoted Fruits & Vegetables Month at the White House with White House chef Walter Scheib.
    • It was nearly condemned in 1948: The aging home was deemed by engineers to be structurally unsound and about to fall down.
    • Teddy Roosevelt created the West Wing and William Howard Taft added the Oval Office to it. Richard Nixon turned the indoor pool into the press briefing room.
    • In 2017, the White House suffered an infestation of mice!
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