George Washington identified the site for the construction of the White House in 1791. The structure's design is credited to James Hoban, an Irish-born architect. The first President to reside in the building was John Adams in 1800 but in 1814 the British set it on fire. The structure has been expanded and renovated since then, and it serves as a museum of American history. The building has six levels, 35 bathrooms, and 132 rooms.
President John Adams implemented a form of plumbing during his tenure when he had an iron garden pump featuring "nine spout holes" attached to a well at the Treasury building. This pump channeled water to the grounds of the White House. Piped water was introduced during Andrew Jackson's tenure in 1833 and 1834, a "bathing room" was created in the West Wing. A bathroom on the 2nd floor with permanent bathing facilities was established during Franklin Pierce's presidency. The bathroom was one of its kind with hot and cold water being piped. Before this improvement, kettles bearing hot water had to be transported from the East Wing's bathroom, and portable bathtubs were also required to bathe in the 2nd floor.
The renovation of the building under President Truman created a bathroom in almost all rooms contained in the lowest floor of the residence. The current bathrooms feature modern facilities such as porcelain bowls, white marble floors, and automatic flushing. The bathrooms are additionally stacked with high-quality toilet papers while some like the bathroom in the library having paper towels featuring the President's seal. Some West Wing bathrooms are multi-stalled with shower stalls and shoe polishers.
Gender Neutral Bathroom
During President Obama's tenure, a gender-neutral bathroom was unveiled in the White House in 2015. The move was in line with the administration's efforts to include the LGBT population and to signify tolerance and inclusiveness. The bathroom was created in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building which holds much of the White House staff. The administration stated that it intended to give staff and guests more options to use those restrooms that are consistent with the gender they identify with. The move came on the heels of increased conversations concerning LGBT rights. Once President Obama left office, and President Donald Trump succeeded him, the fate of the neutral bathroom was uncertain, but President Trump's administration has stated that it would keep it.
Significance of the Gender-Neutral Bathroom
Supporters of LGBT rights lauded the inclusion of a gender-neutral bathroom in the White House. Such bathrooms have been on the increase in the US in spheres such as workplaces and educational institutions. The LGBT community welcomed the move as other US States were considering legislation which would restrict individuals to use the bathrooms which correspond to the gender they were assigned at birth. In Obama's tenure, the government implemented several regulations concerning the inclusion of the LGBT populations. Companies which enjoy federal contracts were for example banned from discriminating against LGBT workers. The gender-neutral bathroom is thus seen as representing the movement towards inclusion and full participation of LGBT individuals in society.