Before starting this project, I never expected I would know the history of the White House as intimately as I do now. This summer, as part of the White House Internship Program, I was assigned the task of creating a new White House Tour Guide booklet for visitors.
To compile the booklet, I spent my days reading about the rich history of the White House, about the individuals who lived and worked in it, and how the executive mansion and its grounds have changed over the years. Since construction began in 1792, all presidents, except for George Washington, have known the White House as their home. But most importantly, the White House has been considered the “People’s House” ever since George Washington decided to have the residence built.
After reading all about the history of the White House, I was able to see it in person. I saw the scorch marks on the original White House beams from when the British set it on fire during the War of 1812. I saw the kitchen and met Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford, the first female executive chef for the White House. I walked into the Diplomatic Reception room, the sight of FDR’s Fireside chats, and admired the beautiful wallpaper that lines the entire room. Walking through the Cross Hall of the White House, I studied the portraits of past presidents, including John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
Out of all of the magnificent areas I saw in person, read about, and memorized, one of my favorite parts of the White House is the mantel in the State Dining Room. Written on the marble fireplace is a quote from a letter that John Adams wrote to his wife.
The inscription reads, “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.”
This quote on the mantel is by far my favorite detail in the White House as I also pray for nothing but the best to those who serve as our President, no matter who they are. This newfound knowledge of the history of the White House will stay with me all my life and will constantly remind me of the immense opportunity I was given as part of the White House Internship Program.
Alan Rosa is from Augusta, Georgia, and is a junior studying Management Information Systems and Political Science at the University of Georgia. Alan Rosa is a member of the Summer 2017 White House Internship Program in the Management and Administration Office.