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7 Fascinating Facts about Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing in the White House

The home of the President of the United States since 1800, the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, evokes lots of curious questions.  Yes, the White House does have a bowling alley in the basement, and Tom Hanks did donate an espresso machine for the press room.

In honor of President’s Day, we thought it would be fun take a look at some of the less glamorous aspects of the White House.  While not as flashy as an indoor pool or music room, the heating, cooling, and plumbing of the White House has had its own story over the past 200 years.

7 Fascinating Facts about the heating, cooling, and plumbing in the White House

1. The White House has 35 bathrooms

That’s a lot to clean!  Let’s hope they don’t have any running toilets or leaky faucets!

2. John Adams was the first President to bring running water to the ‘Executive Mansion.’

Having a ‘green thumb,’ the second president had a running water pump in his garden-then called the Executive Mansion.

3. William Howard Taft built a screened in sleeping porch on the roof

Summers in Washington D.C. can get really hot and humid-especially in the pre-air conditioning days.

4. Woodrow Wilson conducted business from an outdoor tent on hot summer days

Located in the Rose Garden, the tent had a telephone, desk, chairs, and electric lights.

5. Once A/C was installed, Nixon kept the White House so cold, he had a fireplace burning during the summer.

Lyndon B. Johnson supposedly was able to sleep with an electric blanket during the summer thanks to White House air conditioning.

6. At first only the state rooms of the White House were heated.

in 1840 a gravity hot air heating system was installed, but it only provided heat to the transverse hall and state rooms.

7. Millard Fillmore was the President who had flush toilets installed.

According to The Chicago Tribune, the flush toilets were installed in1853.

[Sources: The White House Historical Association- Keeping Cool in the White House, Installing a White House Heating System, When did The White House first get plumbing? ; WhiteHouse.Gov- The White House Building]

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