Friday, December 22, 2006

The White House

 
Friday's Urban Legend

The Canadians soundly trounced the Americans in the War of 1812. One of the goals of the campaign was to demonstrate the ability of the mighty British Empire to deliver shock and awe to the enemy capital. To this end, Washington was invaded and looted in 1814 and the White House was set on fire. The Americans were so intimidated that President Monroe soon surrendered.

This is all well-known historical fact. Something that Canadian and British schoolchildren learn in history classes when they are 10 years old.

The name "White House" is thought to be derived from the whitewash that Americans put on the house when the fire damage was repaired. It seemed to have been part of a larger campaign to whitewash everything that had to do with losing of the War of 1812.

That part is urban myth according to snopes.com [White House Wash]. The President's house was known as the White House before the War of 1812 and the original house, built in 1798, was whitewashed.

3 comments :

  1. Interesting comment there.
    Enjoyed reading your blog...

    ReplyDelete
  2. "...The name "White House" is thought to be derived from the whitewash that Americans put on the house when the fire damage was repaired."

    Nope ... http://www.snopes.com/language/colors/whitehouse.asp

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is one of those things...

    Yes, the White House was referred to as The White House before the application of white wash in 1817 following the completion of those repairs. But it was probably called he White House more often after that than before.

    In any event, it was the President's House and The Executive Mansion, not The White House until the early 20th century when it was officially named The White House (so the letterhead, etc. would then presumably change).

    So in actuality, none of this is true. Or false. As usual.

    ReplyDelete