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The government hired James Hoban, designer of the original President's House to supervise the rebuilding of the mansion and executive office buildings, while Benjamin H. Latrobe returned as Architect of the Capitol. It had taken nearly ten years to build the first President's House; the post-fire restoration would take about three years just to make the mansion habitable again. Damaged walls were rebuilt and the intricately carved stone ornament restored, Hoban also used timber framing instead of brick in reconstructing the interior walls and substructure. This saved time but came back to haunt the White House in that it required major structural work in 1902 and 1927, and gutting and reinstalling the interiors within a skeleton of steel structural beams on a new concrete foundation between 1948 and 1952.

At the Capitol, workers and craftsmen in 1815 began carving out and replacing dark, begrimed stone around windows and doors, cleaning smoke damage from inside walls and getting rid of debris. Latrobe, though, chafed under the supervision of Samuel Lane, commissioner of public buildings, and President James Monroe who valued speed over all design considerations. He resigned in November 1817 because of what he felt was continued interference by his superiors. Before leaving Washington Latrobe restored the old House and Senate Chambers, considered today to be some of the finest neoclassical spaces in America, and produced drawings for the central rotunda section, partially followed by his successor Charles Bulfinch.

The 1818 Robert King Jr.'s map of Washington, D.C. depicted the appearance of the White House and Capitol, as they would be restored. Hoban's south portico was not completed until 1824 and the map reproduced Thornton's design for the Capitol without the modifications by Latrobe.

Library of Congress

Scorch marks

The scorch marks of the fire are still visible today on the White House as areas have been left unpainted after the cleaning and conservation of the stone walls from 1978 to1988. Many people have heard the legend that the White House acquired its name with the painting of the house to cover the blackened stone caused by the fire. Actually, the building was first made white with lime-based whitewash in 1798, simply as a means of protecting the porous Aquia stone from freezing and spalling. The house acquired its nickname early on and can be found in the correspondence of congressmen years before 1814. The official name in the nineteenth century was the President's House, but during the Victorian era "The Executive Mansion" was used on official letterhead. President Theodore Roosevelt made the White House the official name in 1901.

The scorch marks of the fire are still visible today on the White House as two areas have been left unpainted.

Erik Kvalsik for the White House Historical Association

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