Monday, January 7, 2013

The White House: Your House and 468 Helpers

With the president's inauguration coming up on January 20, Triogenius wondered about other careers people have helping to run the White House. Here is a list of some, but not all, jobs that support the running of the White House-which currently employs 468 people, including staffers such as press secretaries, personal secretaries, speech writers, assorted advisors, and the people who do the 'real' work of keeping the White House in top shape:

  • Chef, Executive Chef, cooks, and Kitchen Staff; Waiters for large dinners
  • Floral Designer
  • Laundry Workers
  • Housekeepers
  • Maintenance Workers: Carpenters, Electricians, Plumbers
  • Groundskeepers and Gardeners specific to the flowers and plantings
  • Horticulturists and a beekeeper
  • Elevator Operators
  • Calligrapher, to hand letter invitations, menus, award certificates
  • Media Technicians
  • Security for those allowed in and out of the White House
  • Curator(s) for all antiquities on display at the White House
  • Ushers and doormen
  • When necessary, tutors for the President's children, paid for by the President
  • Child care for the President's children, paid for by the President

Did you know?.....

  • Laundry used to be washed and then hung to dry on the South Lawn before there were clothes dryers.
  • Before 1930, there were call bells set up to summon a servant. After 1930, they used electrical ones. Some presidents expected their servants to be on call 24/7.
  • Originally, the president's residence was in Philadelphia. In 1800, John Adams was the first to live in the White House in Washington, D.C.
  • All presidents before 1860 brought their slaves with them to be servants at the White House.
  • Black freedmen and also servants born in Europe worked alongside the slaves.
  • In Lincoln's time, the salary for the stewards and gardener was $800 a year. The doorkeeper and fireman, who was in charge of the fireplaces, earned $600 a year.
  • Lincoln's White House also employed guards who were former policemen, coachmen to drive the coaches bearing the President, one cook, one messenger, and one doorkeeper. They also had eight lamp lighters---remember, there was no electricity in the White House until 1891. Lamp lighters also cleaned out all the fireplace ashes.
  • President John Adams was the first to use an indoor bathtub. His son, John Quincy, still preferred a dip in the Potomac River instead of an indoor bath.
  • Before indoor plumbing was installed, workers had to lug buckets of water from a spring located five blocks away. Imagine laundry day!
  • The White House has: 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators.
  • The White House can accommodate 140 persons for a formal dinner and 1,000 for hors d'oeuvres.
  • The White House belongs to the people of the United States.
  • The entrance to the White House we always see is the north side.
  • The house was called The President's House, President's Palace, or President's Mansion, until simply being called The White House.

Moving the 'old' president out and the 'new' president in is a mad scramble on Inauguration Day. The former family is supposed to be out by 10:00 a.m., and the new one moved in by 4:00 p.m.  Ideally, this means the clothing is in their dressers, their family pictures are on display, and their personal items are all neatly hung up or otherwise arranged for their use starting immediately after the ceremonies. White House staff do 'rehearsals' before the actual move to try to accomplish everything so it looks effortless. The trucks with the President's things are closely guarded.

Here is an app you can download for all the latest news from the White House:

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