The White(?) House

O.K., here’s one that’s been bugging me for some time. As every Canadian schoolkid knows the reason your president’s official residence is called ‘The White House’ is because of us. During that unpleasantness in 1812 a bunch of our boys took a rowdy sightseeing trip to D.C., opened up a can of whup-ass on you, and left the place in a bit of a mess. As a result the abode at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was covered in white paint to hide the burn marks, bullet holes, urine stains (if they were true Canadians they were well fortified with decent beer) etc. Ever since it’s been referred to as ‘The White House". My question is this; is there an official name for it other than that, and/or what was it called before we blowed it up real good? And what colour is it under all that white?

Dave Bailey

Snopes debunked the idea of it being called the “white house” only after it was burned down here.

See also Why is the White House white? from the White House Historical Association.

Dagnabbit, I’ve been to Snopes’ site dozens of times; how did I miss seeing that? Oh well, after obnoxiously pointing out urban legends when my friends fall prey to them (and sending them links to Snopes’ page, among others!) I guess it’s about time I got bitten on the ass. Thanks. I think.

If memory serves, prior to the name “The White House”, it was the Executive Mansion. And prior to Jefferson, it was the Presidential Palace.