Sunday, October 13, 2013
October 13 - Cornerstone of the the White House
The cornerstone of the White House in Washington, D.C., was laid on October 13, 1792. Thereafter construction proceeded very slowly for the next eight years. Two years earlier, architects had submitted plans to a design competition for the executive mansion offering a $500 prize. Thomas Jefferson submitted a design anonymously. The winner was James Hoban, a young Irish immigrant who had based his idea on a palace in Dublin. Enslaved and free African-American workers along with employed immigrants built the foundations and parts of the main structure of the White House. Hoban hired Scottish immigrants to erect the sandstone walls and install decorative motifs. The porous sandstone was whitewashed with a mixture of lime and glue-like materials as a sealant. In November 1800, President John Adams and wife Abigail moved into the residence, then President Jefferson became the occupant in 1801. The cornerstone, which is said to have an inscribed brass plate, has never been located, though it is believed to be in the southwest corner. Pictured: Today and in 1800.