"Dump" still has a lot going for it

Established as the official residence for the Commander-in-Chief back in 1800, the White House may be facing a few so-called improvements following Trump's recent comments on the state of the home. 

Will gold be on the horizon? More than likely gauging by what we know about the current president's taste in penthouse suites. 

So, if Trump does decide to remake the historic home, who'll foot the bill? 

We will: The American people.

In fact, every four years, Congress appropriates money to maintain and redecorate the 132-room executive mansion. So, all the gold and tackiness made to appease a certain billionaire's taste; we're paying for all that crap (though, to be fair we always have).

A, very, old image of the White House

A, very, old image of the White House

Still, Trump's comments about the White House being a "dump" got us thinking. We're curious to see what other improvements have been made by past presidents. Take a look:

  • The author of the Declaration of Independence and man currently residing on $2 bills, Thomas Jefferson added a pair of water closets (fancy).
  • Following a fire that destroyed most of the home, the Madisons gave the home a more regal touch by decorating with extravagant French furniture.
  • When the Lincolns arrived in the White House, it looked more like a sad attempt at a newly built Flanders home on the Simpsons than a residence for the country’s most powerful family.

“There were tears in the draperies, pieces of upholstery were cut out, pieces of the carpet were cut and taken as souvenirs. The White House was a public building and people could come and go. They couldn’t even find the key to the front door when the Lincolns moved in,” according to James Cornelius, Lincoln Curator at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill.

So, Lincoln asked Congress for an appropriation to enhance the home. In May of 1861, Mary went to New York and came back with what the New York Times called “the greatest china and porcelain house in the city.”

(FUN FACT: Teddy Roosevelt established the formal name "White House" in 1901.)

  • Another fire made renovations necessary during the Hoover administration in 1929.
  • The White House got its first bowling alley in 1947 when Harry Truman (who didn't bowl) was president.
  • Dwight Eisenhower installed a putting green in 1954.
The White House putting green still gets a lot of use

The White House putting green still gets a lot of use

(Side Note: According to World Golf Hall of Fame Historian, Dr. Tony Parker, episode 51: the History of Golf, Trump is the best-golfing president).

  • The Kennedys made several modern touches to the home including antique wallpapers depicting scenes from the American Revolutionary War that were installed in the private dining room and landscape scenes in the diplomatic reception room. Mrs. Kennedy also established The White House Historical Foundation to raise money for the new furnishings. 
  • President Ford installed a swimming pool in 1975 (FDR is responsible for installing the first indoor pool to the White House -- learn more about this "pool" in our conversation w/ Margaret Talev -- episode 57).
  • President Obama made the home's tennis court into his own basketball court.

Of course, we're not going to mention the installation and eventual removal of solar panels in the 70s and 80s (check out our series on energy for more on that).

So, what improvements will Trump make? Luckily for the American people, a special board, also founded by Mrs. Kennedy, gets the final say on any renovations proposed by the first family.

Update (8/9/17 - 13:33): Correction made to Fun Fact. Teddy Roosevelt established the formal name of the White House. He did not coin the phrase - "White House."