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A Brief and Fun History of White House Plumbing

Interesting Plumbing History Facts About America’s House

A good way to celebrate President’s Day is to look at history and learn some fun facts. But, to make things even more interesting, those facts will be all about plumbing in the White House! This article will give a new twist on its history, from the first running water to the first flush to the first full bathroom and other interesting tidbits. 

People think of the grandeur and modern convenience of the White House as it is today, but it wasn’t always so. In fact, it wasn’t always known as the White House. It used to be called The President’s House until 1901. Read on to discover more fun facts about the White House and its plumbing. 

Installing Running Water in the White House

President John Quincy Adams was the first to bring running water to the White House, although it wasn’t for bathing or drinking. The first running water on the property wasn’t technically in the house itself. Adams loved to garden, and so he had water piped in from the nearby Treasury Building’s well for watering his plants.

The first running water inside the house wasn’t until 1833, under Andrew Jackson. An engineer was brought in to design the pipe and reservoir system that initially supplied the house with water for drinking and fire protection. Shortly after that came the first legitimate bathroom, known as a “bathing room” back then. 

The Very First Flush

Not too long after running water was available in the White House, there was the first flush toilet. President Millard Fillmore, who served from 1850 to 1853, was the first to use one.

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However, his successor is credited with installing the very first modern bathroom as we know it today. President Franklin Pierce enjoyed a bathroom with a tub, toilet, and running water. 

Other Fun Facts

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Running water and flushing toilets aren’t the only plumbing facts worth noting. With a historic house that’s been around so long, there’s bound to be other fun facts

Here are some:

  • Today, the White House has 35 bathrooms. It’s such a large building with a large staff that it needs all 35 bathrooms for everyday activities. 
  • Before running water came to the White House, servants had to walk five blocks to a spring in Franklin Park. They then had to lug the water back to the White House for the inhabitants to use. 
  • The plumbing was, for a long time, a slapdash venture. Pipes were added as bathrooms were added. No major plumbing renovations occurred until the middle of the 20th century.

About Polestar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning

The friendly folks at Polestar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning have been serving Merriam, KS, for over 35 years. They offer hassle-free service from trained and certified technicians. Their pricing is flat-rate, so there are no surprises, and their workmanship is always top-quality. Contact them to schedule expert plumbing service today!