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LESSONS: GRADES K-3  ›  The White House: Symbol of Leadership
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Resources: ACTIVITIES [PDF]  |  LESSON [PDF]  |  Corresponding Teacher's Text


The White House - Symbol of Leadership




Image: "Avenue in the Rain." Childe Hassam, 1918
What do you think of when you see a flag? What does it mean? When you see this red, white and blue flag, you think of America! The American flag is a symbol of our country.

Buildings can be symbols too. The White House is the home and office of the president of the United States. When people see a picture of the White House, they think of the leader of our country. The White House is a symbol of leadership. Some people from other countries also see the White House and think of freedom.

Today, you can see pictures of the White House on television, in newspapers, and in magazines. Here you will see pictures of the White House from long ago and from today. You will see how the middle part of the house has not changed much since John Adams was the first president to live there. But you will see the White House grow when more people live and work there. The house grew out, up, and down, but the middle part has stayed the same. This is important. If a symbol is going to make you think of an idea, like leadership, the symbol must not change.


"Avenue in the Rain." Childe Hassam, 1918



Image: White House architect James Hoban made this drawing in 1793.

Massachusetts Historical Society
The White House before it was built

White House architect James Hoban made this drawing in 1793. The drawing was used to help build the White House.


Image: White House sketch by William Blodget, 1800

White House sketch by William Blodget, 1800
The White House when President John Adams lived there

This sketch shows the White House in the early days, about the year 1800.


Image: Print of the White House after the 1814 fire by George Munger. Library of Congress

Print of the White House after the 1814 fire
by George Munger. Library of Congress
The White House after it was burned by the British

The White House was burned in 1814. British soldiers came to Washington and set fire to it. You can see the burn marks near the windows.


Image: The White House about 1835.

Southwest view, c. 1835
The White House with wings

The White House about 1835. You can see one of the wings added to the side of the house. Wings on both sides were built because the president needed rooms for storing food and other items. Servants worked in the wings, too.


Image: This is the first photograph of the White House. It was taken about 1846.

South front, 1846. Library of Congress
The First Photograph of the White House

This is the first photograph of the White House. It was taken about 1846.


Image: Greenhouses at the White House, c. 1890.  Library of Congress

Greenhouses at the White House, c. 1890.
Library of Congress
The White House Greenhouses

Big glass buildings were built on one side of the White House. Plants grew in these greenhouses.


Image: West wing, 1902. Library of Congress

West wing, 1902. Library of Congress
The West Wing of the White House

President Theodore Roosevelt tore down the greenhouses in 1902 and built offices on the west side of the White House.


Image: East entrance, 1902. Collection of William Seale

East entrance, 1902. Collection of William Seale
The East Wing of the White House

Theodore Roosevelt built a new entrance to the White House in 1902. Visitors coming to a party would drive their carriages up this driveway to the East Wing. They would walk through the doors and through a hall to get to the middle part of the White House.


Image: Roof after expansion, 1927. Library of Congress

Roof after expansion, 1927. Library of Congress
More Space on the Third Floor

President Calvin Coolidge decided more space was needed for the president's family. New rooms were built on top of the White House in 1927.


Image: The Truman Renovation. Abbie Rowe

The Truman Renovation. Abbie Rowe
Repairing the White House and Building Two Basements

President Harry Truman had a lot of repairs done between 1948 and 1952. The old White House was falling apart. All the inside rooms were replaced and two basements were dug below the ground. The outside walls were saved.


Image: The White House Today. InHeritage

The White House Today. InHeritage
The White House today

The stone walls have stood since President John Adams first occupied the house in 1800. There are wings on both sides of the White House but trees and bushes help to hide them. This is the famous White House that is known by people all over the world.




Resources: ACTIVITIES [PDF]  |  LESSON [PDF]  |  Corresponding Teacher's Text


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