"The Pentagon," "The White House": Are these OFFICIAL names?

Obviously these building monikers originated from the physical appearance of the structures they describe. And of course these popular names are thoroughly ingrained in the world consciousness. But are they official? And I mean really official – I want proof beyond a piece of letterhead or the backdrop icon at a press conference.

To give an example of what I’m talking about, there is a highway here in NYC that virtually EVERYONE in the world calls the “West Side Highway.” But that’s not its real name. It’s the Miller Highway. Same thing for a building called “the Tweed Courthouse.”

They seem to be official to me. I’ve never heard anyone call them anything else.

I guess it’s possible the military has some long name like HQJNTCUBFLTAIR for the Pentagaon that we don’t know about.

If it’s any consolation to you, I’ve never heard anyone calling it the West Side Highway. Perhaps that’s because I have no idea what or where it is.

Everton, You are a funny fellow. [Smilie]

White House: The Executive Mansion is the ‘official’ name.

I believe (having been a defense contractor who worked in the Pentagon on many occasions, and who wrote proposals addressed to “The Pentagon, Washington, DC” that “The Pentagon” is the official name.

The official name of the White House IIRC is the Executive Mansion.

IIRC, the White House was officially known as “The Executive Mansion” until the Theodore Roosevelt administration when the name was changed to reflect the popular designation. It is officially “The White House”.

I think the Pentagon Building is also the official name, but am not sure.

I must reverse myself. It’s officially the White House since 1901.

I think they might call the living quarters the executive mansion - as opposed to the office parts. But that’s probably an unofficial term. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard TV reporters refer to the EM.

Huh. Oh well - another cite against ‘Executive Mansion’: http://www2.worldbook.com/features/features.asp?feature=presidents&page=html/whitehouse.htm&direct=yes

My mailing address was

xxxx AF Pentagon
Washington DC, <zip>

So I’d say, yep, “Pentagon” is an, if not the, official name.

From the White House website:

I believe that the First Family’s living quarters are usually referred to as the “Residence” or the “Private Residence.” The reporters who refer to the “Executive Mansion” are probably referring to the White House by its traditional name.

To expand on what has already been said about changes in Theodore Roosevelt’s time, if we are to believe the Walt Disney series Davey Crockett (and if we don’t, just what is there left to believe in?) The Executive Mansion was commonly referred to as “The Presidential Palace” until Andrew Jackson’s time. Thereafter people got in the habit of calling it The White House, it having been painted during Jackson’s time in office.

Stationery from the President’s residence in the District of Columbia says simply “The White House” in the letterhead.

Mailing addresses are not necessarily official names. They can be anything, so long as the local mail carriers know what it is, and I imagine that all of the mail carriers in the DC/Arlington area know what “The Pentagon” is.

This is close to being OT, but on the campus of Texas A&M University, which has a sizeable ROTC program, the Military Sciences Building is commonly referred to as the “Trigon.” (It is two sides and many, many acres short of Washington’s version.)

“The Pentagon” seems to be the official monicker of the five-sided building in Washington, but it is also sometimes called the “Headquarters of the Department of Defense,” or the “Department of Defense Headquarters.” What those names may lack in geometry, they make up for in purpose. The Pentagon is the primary office building for the DoD and serves as the focal point for communications between the civilian and military leaders who are in charge of U.S. forces.

You have a building with only two sides? What is it, a line? Or are you counting the inside and the outside as the two sides? :smiley:

Oops, the “Trigon” has three sides. That is, it is shaped a bit like a triangle.

The name makes a bit more sense in that light, maybe. :slight_smile: