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A History Of White House Electricity

Happy Presidents’ Day!

As we are honoring our past Nation’s Leaders, let’s take a look back at the history of electricity in the White House.

The_White_House_at_nightAlthough the White House was built in 1792, in 1891 President Benjamin Harrison was the first President to enjoy electricity in the White House. But he was so scared of being shocked, he had the staff turn on and off the lights. The electricity was run by generators in the basement of the neighboring State, War, & Navy Building, and wires were run to the White House, and the lights were very limited. These lights were few and used in limited capacity.

In 1902, as electric powered lights were being used more frequently, more light fixtures were being installed and older gas lights removed. President Teddy Roosevelt was in office at the time, and it was at this time the original wiring system was replaced in a restoration. After the restoration only the service areas of the White House still used gas lights.

President Coolidge had the honor of lighting the first national Christmas Tree in 1923. It was the first to be decorated with electric lights. And in 1925, the first electric refrigerator was installed, also during Calvin Coolidge’s Presidency.

Now finally at this time, more and more people around the Maryland and DC area had access to electricity as well. Donna Boesl’s (President of F.H. Furr) Grandfather, named Walter, who is the name sake and inspiration for our company, started his business in this same year-1925, and at the age of 23 provided electrical service to surrounding DC residents.

On Christmas Eve in 1929 during Herbert Hoover’s presidency, an electrical fire caused by faulty wiring, destroyed much of West Wing of the White House. 19 fire trucks raced to the scene, 130 fire fighters battled the blaze. This occurred during a Christmas party for the children of Presidential Aides. The party continued as it was in another area of the house.

And in 1933, Air Conditioning was installed, during the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration.

During the Truman Reconstruction of the White House, much of the interior was rebuilt, replacing much of the original electrical circuitry and wiring. This occurred from 1949-1952.

In 1965 the first fire alarms were installed.

Enjoy the day and let’s all remember the leaders of our great nation this Presidents’ Day!

For F.H. Furr’s electrical services, call us at (703) 690-0449 or Schedule An Appointment Online.

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