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The White House first received a form of plumbing during John Quincy Adams’ presidency (1825-1829). Adams was an avid gardener, and an iron garden pump with "nine spout holes" was attached to a well at the neighboring Treasury building and provided water for the White House grounds.

Water was first piped into the White House in 1833 during Andrew Jackson’s presidency. Sometime within the next year, a "bathing room" was established in the East Wing.

President Franklin Pierce also made significant improvements to the plumbing and toilet facilities, including the installation of a bathroom on the second floor with the first permanent bathing facilities. The new bathroom was luxurious in having both hot and cold water piped in. Before 1853 bathing on the second floor required portable bathtubs, and kettles of hot water had to be hauled up from the existing East Wing bathing room.

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