This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
AT THE western end of the city of Washington stands the staid and venerable home of the Presidents of the United States, during their terms of office. Close by it, and surrounding it, are the Government buildings occupied by the State Department, the Treasury Department, the War Department and the Navy Department, representing, in one group, the executive, diplomatic, pecuniary, and defensive sinews of the nation. Having an attractive location, with handsomely ornamented grounds in front, and a fine park in its rear reaching to the Potomac river, the President's house occupies a prominent position in the national capital.
The corner-stone of the mansion was laid October 13, 1792, and the structure was first occupied in 1800 by President John Adams. It is properly called the "White House," owing to its freestone walls having been painted white. Its designer was Mr. James Hoban, who embodied in it a resemblance to the palace of the Duke of Leinster, in Great Britain. It contains two stories and a basement, is 170 feet long and eighty-six feet wide. The portico on the north front is supported by eight columns of the Ionic order of architecture; on the south front is a semicircular colonnade of six other Ionic columns, and the roof is surrounded with a hand-some balustrade.
During the war of 1812, when the British army invaded Washington, President Madison was forced to flee, and the English troops destroyed the mansion. This was in 1814. In the following year Congress authorized its reconstruction, and in 1818 the new edifice was first occupied by President Monroe.
The main entrance to the mansion is in the north front, where a massive door-way opens into the main hall, divided midway by a row of pillars resembling marble, and along its walls are ranged the portraits of the chief magistrates who formerly occupied it. On the left of the hall the visitor is ushered into the celebrated " East room," which occupies the entire lower eastern portion of the mansion. It is in this apartment, which is handsomely furnished, that the Presidents hold their levees and state assemblages. It is eighty-six feet long, forty feet wide and twenty-eight feet high, and is warmed with four fire-places.
* For view of President's mansion see page devoted to President's Duties.
Three other apartments of some celebrity, - the "Green," the "Blue,"and the "Red," - adjoin the East room, each deriving its name from the color which distinguishes it from the adjacent ones, and all are handsomely furnished. The Red room is sometimes used as a general reception parlor. The north front of the mansion has six rooms, which are chambers used by the President and his family, and on the south front are seven rooms, described as the ante-chamber, audience room, cabinet-room, ladies' parlor, the President's private office, and two others used for various purposes. The main or state dining-room is west of the Red room, and joining it is the ordinary dining-room used by the President's family. The ladies' parlor is for the private use of the President's family, and is considered the handsomest apartment in the building. The basement contains eleven rooms, including kitchens, pantries, etc.