WASHINGTON (KDKA) – Everybody recognizes the White House from the outside along 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but the inside is not always that visible.
KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano, invited to interview President Obama on Monday, was one of eight reporters asked to join a special tour of the East Wing led by White House Assistant Curator Lydia Tederick.
Building first began on the White House in 1792 with an architect and design approved by President George Washington.
“George Washington also determined the site for the White House and, interestingly enough, was the only president never to have lived in the White House,” Tederick says.
That honor went to John Adams in 1800 who succeeded Washington.
The East Room, now used for official receptions and press conferences, also had an earlier use.
“This is the room that Abigail Adams is said to have hung her laundry,” Tederick says.
The next room you enter from the East Room is called the Green Room for its obvious color.
The Green Room was actually a small breakfast room for President Thomas Jefferson, and it’s one of the few rooms with a portrait of a Pennsylvanian, Benjamin Franklin.
The adjacent Blue Room has some of the oldest original furniture in the White House, dating back to James Monroe. This room is opposite the official entrance to the White House used by dignitaries. Above the door to the Blue Room is the presidential seal.
The Red Room is a good example of on-going restorations by First Families.
“The décor reflects the American empire period and it was introduced to this room in 1961 by Mrs. Kennedy,” notes Tederick.
The formal state dining room displays Abraham Lincoln’s portrait above the fireplace, but presidential portraits are everywhere, including John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
The tour ended in the grand foyer. It’s a familiar scene to anyone who watches the president on television at any of his press conferences. The president walks down the grand foyer to address the American public.
Of course, no visit to the White House is really complete without seeing Bo — the first dog — on the south lawn.
Bo is a Portuguese water dog given to the Obamas by the late Teddy Kennedy. He’s used to public attention – no one had any trouble petting the dog.
Bo, by the way, has a Pittsburgh connection. His father, Watson, is from Ambridge.