History of the United States
Architecture
White House

Who built the White House?

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November 17, 2015 5:53PM

George Washington and a city planner by the name of Pierre L'enfant chose the site. A competition was held for the design, which was narrowed down to 9 candidates. In 1791 James Hoban, an Irish architect, won the commission to build the presidential residence and his design was eventually built. The British burned it in 1814, but it was rebuilt and enlarged under Hoban's direction. In the 1820s, Hoban added eastern and western terraces. The latest addition of the West Wing (1902) and East Wing (1942) provided additional office space.

The actual Construction Workers:

According to CNN, Washington Times, USA Today and many other reports... Of the 600 people who helped build the white house, about 400 were slaves and the masters of said slaves..

"There was a labor shortage. According to the White House Historical Association, the commissioners planning the building of the new District of Columbia originally planned to import workers from Europe. But when recruitment failed to meet their needs, they turned to slave owners, who would hire out small groups of slaves to earn money. The slaves were involved not only in cutting logs and removing stumps for construction of the new buildings and streets in D.C... Black quarrymen, sawyers, brick makers, and carpenters fashioned raw materials into the products used to erect the White House" reports the Historical Association..."