Which President Gave The White House Its Name?

According to the official website, the White House was built in 1792, and since then, it has headquartered every presidential administration beginning with the second U.S. president, John Adams, through the current administration. Throughout the centuries, the White House has been attacked, portions have been destroyed, and other areas have been repeatedly renovated. What remains true, however, is that the White House is one of the most important government buildings in the United States, and perhaps even in the world. 

That being said, the White House is — quite literally — a white house, so one might expect a building at the center of so many pivotal points in history might have a more imaginative name than that. One common theory about the White House's color and name claims that it was only painted white after the British attacked it in 1814, but that turns out not to be true, per White House History. So how did the White House get its name, and which president named it?

Teddy Roosevelt gave the order

Per White House History, the building that would one day come to be down strictly known as the White House went by a few different names all throughout the 19th century, occasionally including "White House" but also the "Executive Mansion" and even just the "President's House." According to History, early mentions of the "White House" appear around the War of 1812, but in fact, it had been that same color from the very beginning. Turns out the color white was chosen less for aesthetic purposes though, and the first coating of lime-based whitewash was instead chosen to simply protect the structure from the elements.

In 1901, President Teddy Roosevelt ordered then Secretary of State John Hay to reference the building as the "White House" on all official documents. Exactly what motivated Roosevelt to do so is lost in history, but perhaps he was simply seeking consistency in government correspondence and record keeping. Since then, where the president lives and conducts business has been almost exclusively called the White House. If that's not to your liking, one other option remains: the "People's House," as it is occasionally called, even today.