Presidents day is approaching quickly, and this seems to be the perfect opportunity to take a fun look at presidential plumbing in the White House. After all, George Washington may have been our first president, but sadly he didn’t even have access to indoor plumbing in our nation’s new capital. Let’s take a closer look at the earlier years of plumbing at the source of our federal government.
The Earliest White House Plumbing
Our presidents had to wait until the presidency of John Quincy Adams until the first plumbing arrived at the White House. Many people don’t know that President Adams was a very keen gardener and he spent a great deal of time outdoors in the White House gardens. This passion for gardening prompted the government to install a simple garden pump to supply water to the gardens for easier watering. President Adams installed a garden watering pump that has “nine spout holes,” which made it a very early example of a sprinkler system. The water pump was attached to the nearby Treasury building to provide easy access to water for the White House gardens.
The First “Bathroom Room”
In 1833, President Andrew Jackson had the first “bathroom room” installed in the East Wing of the White House. By modern standards, this was a very basic set of facilities, but at the time, this was a revolution. Up until this time, even the President had to use external facilities at all times of the day and night, and this was certain to interfere with vital government functions. This state of affairs continued for two decades until the technology and need for a more luxurious bathroom forced a significant change.
The First “Luxury Bathroom”
Prior to 1853, all of the water used in the White House for bathing had to be manually heated, transported by a person to the bathroom, and then poured into a portable bathtub. With the arrival of President Franklin Pierce, this was deemed to be outdated and inefficient. The White House staff made the decision to install the first ever luxury bathroom up on the second floor. This bathroom had a permanent bathtub and sink that was supplied with hot and cold running water.
The Modern Era
During the last 160 years, there have been a significant number of changes in the White House, and access to bathrooms has been significantly improved. There are now 35 indoor bathrooms available, and as a taxpayer, you will be happy to learn that all of them have access to hot and cold running water. The White House has made significant efforts to improve water consumption and energy efficiency. Given the size and age of the building, it’s unreasonable to expect this building to ever be the as efficient as a modern building. But, it’s interesting to learn how much better our plumbing systems are and how the White House led the way.
If you’re interested in upgrading or installing a bathroom in your home, contact a local plumber
for expert help and advice today.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.