On November 1, 1800, the second President of the United States John Adams became the first chief executive to take resident in what was then variously called the President’s Palace, Presidential Mansion or the President’s House in Washington City, District of Columbia, while it was still unfinished. The earliest evidence of the public calling it the “White House” was recorded in 1811. A myth emerged that during the rebuilding of the structure after the 1814 burning of Washington, white paint was applied to mask the burn damage it had suffered, giving the building its namesake hue. The name “Executive Mansion” was used in official contexts until President Theodore Roosevelt established the formal name by having White House–Washington engraved on the stationery in 1901. The current letterhead wording and arrangement The White House with the word Washington centered beneath goes back to the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. It has been the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams in 1800. The modern-day White House complex includes the Executive Residence, West Wing, East Wing, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — the former State Department, which now houses offices for the President’s staff and the Vice President — and Blair House, a guest residence. The Executive Residence is made up of six stories — the Ground Floor, State Floor, Second Floor, and Third Floor, as well as a two-story basement. The property is a National Heritage Site owned by the National Park Service and is part of the President’s Park. In 2007, it was ranked second on the American Institute of Architects list of “America’s Favorite Architecture”.
Following his April 1789 inauguration, President George Washington occupied two executive mansions in New York City: the Samuel Osgood House at 3 Cherry Street (April 1789 – February 1790), and the Alexander Macomb House at 39–41 Broadway (February–August 1790). In May 1790, New York began construction of Government House for his official residence, but he never occupied it. The national capital moved to Philadelphia in December 1790.
The July 1790 Residence Act named Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the temporary national capital for a 10-year period while the Federal City was under construction. The City of Philadelphia rented Robert Morris’s city house at 190 High Street (now 524-30 Market Street) for Washington’s presidential residence. The first president occupied the Market Street mansion from November 1790 to March 1797, and altered it in ways that may have influenced the design of the White House. As part of a futile effort to have Philadelphia named the permanent national capital, Pennsylvania built a much grander presidential mansion several blocks away, but Washington declined to occupy it.
President John Adams also occupied the Market Street mansion from March 1797 to May 1800. On November 1, 1800, he became the first president to occupy the White House. The President’s House in Philadelphia became a hotel and was demolished in 1832, while the unused presidential mansion became home to the University of Pennsylvania.
The President’s House was a major feature of Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s’ plan for the newly established federal city, Washington, D.C. The architect of the White House was chosen in a design competition which received nine proposals, including one submitted anonymously by Thomas Jefferson. President Washington visited Charleston, South Carolina in May 1791 on his “Southern Tour”, and saw the under-construction Charleston County Courthouse designed by Irish architect James Hoban. He is reputed to have met with Hoban then. The following year, he summoned the architect to Philadelphia and met with him in June 1792. On July 16, 1792, the President met with the commissioners of the federal city to make his judgment in the architectural competition. His review is recorded as being brief, and he quickly selected Hoban’s submission.
Washington was not entirely pleased with the original submission, however; he found it too small, lacking ornament, and not monumental enough to house the nation’s president. On his recommendation, the house was changed from three stories to two, and was widened from a nine-bay facade to an 11-bay facade. Hoban’s competition drawings do not survive.
The building has classical inspiration sources, that could be found directly or indirectly in the Roman architect Vitruvius or in Andrea Palladio styles; Palladio being an Italian architect of the Renaissance which had a considerable influence on the Western architecture (Palladian architecture). The building Hoban designed is verifiably influenced by the upper floors of Leinster House, in Dublin, which later became the seat of the Oireachtas (the Irish parliament). Several other Georgian-era Irish country houses have been suggested as sources of inspiration for the overall floor plan, details like the bow-fronted south front, and interior details like the former niches in the present Blue Room. These influences, though undocumented, are cited in the official White House guide, and in White House Historical Association publications.
Construction of the White House began with the laying of the cornerstone on October 13, 1792, although there was no formal ceremony. The main residence, as well as foundations of the house, were built largely by enslaved and free African-American laborers, as well as employed Europeans. Much of the other work on the house was performed by immigrants, many not yet with citizenship. The sandstone walls were erected by Scottish immigrants, employed by Hoban, as were the high-relief rose and garland decorations above the north entrance and the “fish scale” pattern beneath the pediments of the window hoods. The initial construction took place over a period of eight years, at a reported cost of $232,371.83 (equal to $3,245,460 today). Although not yet completed, the White House was ready for occupancy circa November 1, 1800.
Shortages, including material and labor, forced alterations to the earlier plan developed by French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant for a “palace” that was five times larger than the house that was eventually built. The finished structure contained only two main floors instead of the planned three, and a less costly brick served as a lining for the stone façades. When construction was finished, the porous sandstone walls were whitewashed with a mixture of lime, rice glue, casein, and lead, giving the house its familiar color and name.
The principal façade of the White House, the north front, is of three floors and eleven bays. The ground floor is hidden by a raised carriage ramp and parapet, thus the façade appears to be of two floors. The central three bays are behind a prostyle portico (this was a later addition to the house, built circa 1830) serving, thanks to the carriage ramp, as a porte cochere. The windows of the four bays flanking the portico, at first-floor level, have alternating pointed and segmented pediments, while at second-floor level the pediments are flat. The principal entrance at the center of the portico is surmounted by a lunette fanlight. Above the entrance is a sculpted floral festoon. The roofline is hidden by a balustraded parapet.
The mansion’s southern façade is a combination of the Palladian and neoclassical styles of architecture. It is of three floors, all visible. The ground floor is rusticated in the Palladian fashion. At the center of the façade is a neoclassical projecting bow of three bays. The bow is flanked by five bays, the windows of which, as on the north façade, have alternating segmented and pointed pediments at first-floor level. The bow has a ground floor double staircase leading to an Ionic colonnaded loggia (with the Truman Balcony at second-floor level), known as the south portico. The more modern third floor is hidden by a balustraded parapet and plays no part in the composition of the façade.
John Adams took residence in the building on Saturday, November 1, 1800, During Adams’ second day in the house, he wrote a letter to his wife Abigail, containing a prayer for the house. Adams wrote:
“I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this House, and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt had Adams’s blessing carved into the mantel in the State Dining Room.
Adams lived in the house only briefly before Thomas Jefferson moved into the “pleasant country residence” in 1801. Despite his complaints that the house was too big (“big enough for two emperors, one pope, and the grand lama in the bargain”), Jefferson considered how the White House might be added to. With Benjamin Henry Latrobe, he helped lay out the design for the East and West Colonnades, small wings that help conceal the domestic operations of laundry, a stable and storage. Today, Jefferson’s colonnades link the residence with the East and West Wings.
In 1814, during the War of 1812, the White House was set ablaze by British troops during the Burning of Washington, in retaliation for burning Upper Canada’s Parliament Buildings in the Battle of York. On August 24, 1814, after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, a British force led by Major General Robert Ross occupied Washington, D.C. It marks the only time in U.S. history that Washington, D.C. has been occupied by a foreign force. President James Madison, military officials, and his government fled the city in the wake of the British victory at the Battle of Bladensburg. They eventually found refuge for the night in Brookeville, a small town in Montgomery County, Maryland, which is known today as the “United States Capital for a Day.” President Madison spent the night in the house of Caleb Bentley, a Quaker who lived and worked in Brookeville. Bentley’s house, known today as the Madison House, still stands in Brookeville.
The U.S. Capitol Building was a prime target for the invaders, both for its aesthetic and symbolic value. After looting the building, the British found it difficult to set the structure on fire, owing to its sturdy stone construction. Soldiers eventually gathered furniture into a heap and ignited it with rocket powder, which successfully set the building ablaze. Among the casualties of the destruction of the Capitol was the Library of Congress, the entire 3,000 volume collection of which was destroyed. Several surrounding buildings in Capitol Heights also caught fire. After the war, Thomas Jefferson sold his own personal library to the government in order to pay personal debts, re-establishing the Library of Congress.
After burning the Capitol, the troops turned northwest up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House. After U,S, government officials and President Madison fled the city, the First Lady Dolley Madison received a letter from her husband, urging her to be prepared to leave Washington at a moment’s notice. Dolley organized the slaves and staff to save valuables from the British. James Madison’s personal slave, the fifteen-year-old boy Paul Jennings, was an eyewitness. After later buying his freedom from the widow Dolley Madison, Jennings published his memoir in 1865, considered the first from the White House:
“It has often been stated in print, that when Mrs. Madison escaped from the White House, she cut out from the frame the large portrait of Washington (now in one of the parlors there), and carried it off. She had no time for doing it. It would have required a ladder to get it down. All she carried off was the silver in her reticule, as the British were thought to be but a few squares off, and were expected any moment.”
Jennings said the people who saved the painting and removed the objects actually were:
“John Susé (Jean Pierre Sioussat) (a Frenchman, then door-keeper, and still living) and Magraw [McGraw], the President’s gardener, took it down and sent it off on a wagon, with some large silver urns and such other valuables as could be hastily got hold of. When the British did arrive, they ate up the very dinner, and drank the wines, &c., that I had prepared for the President’s party.“
The soldiers burned the president’s house, and fuel was added to the fires that night to ensure they would continue burning into the next day. The British sought out the United States Treasury in hopes of finding money or items of worth, but the British Army only found old records. The British burned the United States Treasury and other public buildings. The United States Department of War building was also burned. However, the War and State Department files had been removed thus all books and records had been saved; the only records of the War Department lost were recommendations of appointments for the Army and letters received from seven years previous. The First U.S. Patent Office Building was saved by the efforts of William Thornton, the former Architect of the Capitol and then the Superintendent of Patents, who gained British cooperation to preserve it.
The Americans had already burned much of the historic Washington Navy Yard, founded by Thomas Jefferson, to prevent capture of stores and ammunition, as well as the 44-gun frigate USS Columbia and the 18 gun USS Argus, both new vessels nearing completion. The Navy Yard’s Latrobe Gate, Quarters A, and Quarters B were the only buildings to escape destruction. Also spared were the Marine Barracks and Commandant’s House, although several private properties were damaged or destroyed. In the afternoon of August 25, General Ross sent two hundred men to secure a fort on Greenleaf’s Point. The fort, later known as Fort McNair, had already been destroyed by the Americans, but 150 barrels of gunpowder remained. While the British were trying to destroy it by dropping the barrels into a well, the powder ignited. As many as thirty men were killed in the explosion, and many others were maimed.
Less than a day after the attack began, a sudden, very heavy thunderstorm — possibly a hurricane— put out the fires. It also spun off a tornado that passed through the center of the capital, setting down on Constitution Avenue and lifting two cannons before dropping them several yards away, killing British troops and American civilians alike. Following the storm, the British returned to their ships, many of which were badly damaged. The occupation of Washington lasted only about 26 hours. After the “Storm that saved Washington”, as it soon came to be called, the Americans were able to regain control of the city.
Of the White House, only the exterior walls remained, and they had to be torn down and mostly reconstructed because of weakening from the fire and subsequent exposure to the elements, except for portions of the south wall. Of the numerous objects taken from the White House when it was ransacked by British troops, only two have been recovered. Employees and slaves rescued a painting of George Washington, and in 1939, a Canadian man returned a jewelry box to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, claiming that his grandfather had taken it from Washington. Some observers allege that most of these spoils were lost when a convoy of British ships led by HMS Fantome sank en route to Halifax off Prospect during a storm on the night of November 24, 1814, even though Fantome had no involvement in that action.
After the fire, President James Madison resided in The Octagon House from 1814 to 1815, and then the Seven Buildings from 1815 to the end of his term. Meanwhile, both architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe and Hoban contributed to the design and oversight of the reconstruction, which lasted from 1815 until 1817. The south portico was constructed in 1824 during the James Monroe administration; the north portico was built six years later. Though Latrobe proposed similar porticos before the fire in 1814, both porticos were built as designed by Hoban. Italian artisans, brought to Washington to help in constructing the U.S. Capitol, carved the decorative stonework on both porticos. For the North Portico, a variation on the Ionic Order was devised incorporating a swag of roses between the volutes. This was done to link the new portico with the earlier carved roses above the entrance.
By the time of the American Civil War, the White House had become overcrowded. The location of the White House was questioned, just north of a canal and swampy lands, which provided conditions ripe for malaria and other unhealthy conditions. Brigadier General Nathaniel Michler was tasked to propose solutions to address these concerns. He proposed abandoning the use of the White House as a residence and designed a new estate for the first family at Meridian Hill in Washington, D.C., but Congress rejected the plan.
The Panic of 1873 had led to an economic depression that persisted through much of the decade. The Statue of Liberty project was not the only undertaking that had difficulty raising money: construction of the obelisk later known as the Washington Monument sometimes stalled for years. When Chester Arthur took office in 1881, he ordered renovations to the White House to take place as soon as the recently widowed Lucretia Garfield moved out. Arthur inspected the work almost nightly and made several suggestions. Louis Comfort Tiffany was asked to send selected designers to assist. Over twenty wagonloads of furniture and household items were removed from the building and sold at a public auction. All that was saved were bust portraits of John Adams and Martin Van Buren. A proposal was made to build a new residence south of the White House, but it failed to gain support.
In the fall of 1882, work was done on the main corridor, including tinting the walls pale olive and adding squares of gold leaf, and decorating the ceiling in gold and silver, and colorful traceries woven to spell “USA”. The Red Room was painted a dull Pomeranian red, and its ceiling was decorated with gold, silver, and copper stars and stripes of red, white, and blue. A fifty-foot jeweled Tiffany glass screen, supported by imitation marble columns, replaced the glass doors that separated the main corridor from the north vestibule.
In 1902, Theodore Roosevelt hired McKim, Mead & White to carry out expansions and renovations in a neoclassical style suited to the building’s architecture, removing the Tiffany screen and all Victorian additions. Charles McKim himself designed and managed the project, which gave more living space to the President’s large family by removing a staircase in the West Hall and moving executive office staff from the second floor of the residence into the new West Wing.
President William Howard Taft enlisted the help of architect Nathan C. Wyeth to add additional space to the West Wing, which included the addition of the Oval Office. The West Wing was damaged by fire in 1929, but rebuilt during the remaining years of the Herbert Hoover presidency. In the 1930’s, a second story was added, as well as a larger basement for White House staff, and President Franklin Roosevelt had the Oval Office moved to its present location: adjacent to the Rose Garden.
Decades of poor maintenance, the construction of a fourth story attic during the Coolidge administration, and the addition of a second-floor balcony over the south portico for Harry S. Truman took a great toll on the brick and sandstone structure built around a timber frame.
By 1948, the house was declared to be in imminent danger of collapse, forcing President Truman to commission a reconstruction and to live across the street at Blair House from 1949-51. The work, done by the firm of Philadelphia contractor John McShain, required the complete dismantling of the interior spaces, construction of a new load-bearing internal steel frame and the reconstruction of the original rooms within the new structure. The total cost of the renovations was about $5.7 million ($52 million in 2016 dollars). Some modifications to the floor plan were made, the largest being the repositioning of the grand staircase to open into the Entrance Hall, rather than the Cross Hall. Central air conditioning was added, as well as two additional sub-basements providing space for workrooms, storage, and a bomb shelter.
The Trumans moved back into the White House on March 27, 1952. While the house’s structure was kept intact by the Truman reconstruction, much of the new interior finishes were generic, and of little historic value. Much of the original plasterwork, some dating back to the 1814–1816 rebuilding, was too damaged to reinstall, as was the original robust Beaux Arts paneling in the East Room. President Truman had the original timber frame sawed into paneling; the walls of the Vermeil Room, Library, China Room, and Map Room on the ground floor of the main residence were paneled in wood from the timbers.
Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy (1961–1963), directed a very extensive and historic redecoration of the house. She enlisted the help of Henry Francis du Pont of the Winterthur Museum to assist in collecting artifacts for the mansion, many of which had once been housed there. Other antiques, fine paintings, and improvements of the Kennedy period were donated to the White House by wealthy philanthropists, including the Crowninshield family, Jane Engelhard, Jayne Wrightsman, and the Oppenheimer family.
Stéphane Boudin of the House of Jansen, a Paris interior-design firm that had been recognized worldwide, was employed by Mrs. Kennedy to assist with the decoration. Different periods of the early republic and world history were selected as a theme for each room: the Federal style for the Green Room, French Empire for the Blue Room, American Empire for the Red Room, Louis XVI for the Yellow Oval Room, and Victorian for the president’s study, renamed the Treaty Room. Antique furniture was acquired, and decorative fabric and trim based on period documents was produced and installed. The Kennedy restoration resulted in a more authentic White House of grander stature, which recalled the French taste of Madison and Monroe. In the Diplomatic Reception Room Mrs. Kennedy installed an antique “Vue de l’Amérique Nord” wall paper which Zuber & Cie had designed in 1834. The wallpaper had hung previously on the walls of another mansion until 1961 when that house was demolished for a grocery store. Just before the demolition, the wallpaper was salvaged and sold to the White House.
The first White House guidebook was produced under the direction of curator Lorraine Waxman Pearce with direct supervision from Mrs. Kennedy. Sales of the guidebook helped finance the restoration. Kennedy showed her restoration of the White House to the public in a televised tour of the house on Valentine’s Day in 1962.
Out of respect for the historic character of the White House, no substantive architectural changes have been made to the house since the Truman renovation. Since the Kennedy restoration, every presidential family has made some changes to the private quarters of the White House, but the Committee for the Preservation of the White House must approve any modifications to the State Rooms. Charged with maintaining the historical integrity of the White House, the congressionally authorized committee works with each First Family — usually represented by the First Lady, the White House Curator, and the Chief Usher—to implement the family’s proposals for altering the house.
During the Nixon administration (1969–1974), First Lady Pat Nixon refurbished the Green Room, Blue Room, and Red Room, working with Clement Conger, the curator appointed by President Richard Nixon. Mrs. Nixon’s efforts brought more than 600 artifacts to the house, the largest acquisition by any administration. Her husband created the modern press briefing room over Franklin Roosevelt’s old swimming pool. Nixon also added a single-lane bowling alley to the White House basement.
Computers and the first laser printer were added during the Carter administration, and the use of computer technology was expanded during the Reagan administration. A Carter-era innovation, a set of solar water heating panels that were mounted on the roof of the White House, was removed during Reagan’s presidency. Redecorations were made to the private family quarters and maintenance was made to public areas during the Reagan years. The house was accredited as a museum in 1988.
In the 1990’s, Bill and Hillary Clinton refurbished some rooms with the assistance of Arkansas decorator Kaki Hockersmith, including the Oval Office, the East Room, Blue Room, State Dining Room, Lincoln Bedroom, and Lincoln Sitting Room. During the administration of George W. Bush, first lady Laura Bush refurbished the Lincoln Bedroom in a style contemporary to the Lincoln era; the Green Room, Cabinet Room, and theater were also refurbished.
The White House became one of the first wheelchair-accessible government buildings in Washington when modifications were made during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used a wheelchair because of his paralytic illness. In the 1990’s, Hillary Clinton, at the suggestion of Visitors Office Director Melinda N. Bates, approved the addition of a ramp in the East Wing corridor. It allowed easy wheelchair access for the public tours and special events that enter through the secure entrance building on the east side.
In 2003, the Bush administration reinstalled solar thermal heaters. These units are used to heat water for landscape maintenance personnel and for the presidential pool and spa. 167 solar photovoltaic grid tied panels were installed at the same time on the roof of the maintenance facility. The changes were not publicized as a White House spokeswoman said the changes were an internal matter. The story was picked up by industry trade journals. In 2013, President Barack Obama installed a set of solar panels on the roof of the White House.
The president usually travels to and from the White House grounds via official motorcade or helicopter. In the 1950’s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to travel by helicopter to and from the White House grounds.
Today the group of buildings housing the presidency is known as the White House Complex. It includes the central Executive Residence flanked by the East Wing and West Wing. The Chief Usher coordinates day to day household operations. The White House includes: six stories and 55,000 ft² (5,100 m²) of floor space, 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, twenty-eight fireplaces, eight staircases, three elevators, five full-time chefs, a tennis court, a (single-lane) bowling alley (officially called the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley), a movie theater (officially called the White House Family Theater), a jogging track, a swimming pool, and a putting green.
The White House and grounds cover just over 18 acres (about 7.3 hectares). Before the construction of the North Portico, most public events were entered from the South Lawn, which was graded and planted by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson also drafted a planting plan for the North Lawn that included large trees that would have mostly obscured the house from Pennsylvania Avenue. During the mid-to-late nineteenth century, a series of ever larger greenhouses were built on the west side of the house, where the current West Wing is located. During this period, the North Lawn was planted with ornate carpet-style flowerbeds.
Although the White House grounds have had many gardeners through their history, the general design, still largely used as master plan today, was designed in 1935 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. of the Olmsted Brothers firm, under commission from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During the Kennedy administration, the White House Rose Garden was redesigned by Rachel Lambert Mellon. The Rose Garden borders the West Colonnade. Bordering the East Colonnade is the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, which was begun by Jacqueline Kennedy but completed after her husband’s assassination. On the weekend of June 23, 2006, a century-old American Elm (Ulmus americana L.) tree on the north side of the building, came down during one of the many storms amid intense flooding. Among the oldest trees on the grounds are several magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora) planted by Andrew Jackson. Michelle Obama planted the White House’s first organic garden and installed beehives on the South Lawn of the White House, which will supply organic produce and honey to the First Family and for state dinners and other official gatherings.
Like the English and Irish country houses it was modeled on, the White House was, from the start, open to the public until the early part of the twentieth century. President Thomas Jefferson held an open house for his second inaugural in 1805, and many of the people at his swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol followed him home, where he greeted them in the Blue Room. Those open houses sometimes became rowdy: in 1829, President Andrew Jackson had to leave for a hotel when roughly 20,000 citizens celebrated his inauguration inside the White House. His aides ultimately had to lure the mob outside with washtubs filled with a potent cocktail of orange juice and whiskey. Even so, the practice continued until 1885, when newly elected Grover Cleveland arranged for a presidential review of the troops from a grandstand in front of the White House instead of the traditional open house. Jefferson also permitted public tours of his house, which have continued ever since, except during wartime, and began the tradition of annual receptions on New Year’s Day and on the Fourth of July. Those receptions ended in the early 1930’s, although President Bill Clinton would briefly revive the New Year’s Day open house in his first term.
In February 1974, a stolen army helicopter landed without authorization on the White House’s grounds. Twenty years later, in 1994, a light plane crashed on the White House grounds, and the pilot died instantly. As a result of increased security regarding air traffic in the capital, the White House was evacuated in May 2005 before an unauthorized aircraft could approach the grounds.
On May 20, 1995, primarily as a response to the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, the United States Secret Service closed off Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic in front of the White House from the eastern edge of Lafayette Park to 17th Street. Later, the closure was extended an additional block to the east to 15th Street, and East Executive Avenue, a small street between the White House and the Treasury Building.
After September 11, 2001, this was made permanent in addition to closing E Street between the South Portico of the White House and the Ellipse. Following the Boston Marathon bombing, the road was closed to the public in its entirety for a period of two days. The Pennsylvania Avenue closing has been opposed by organized civic groups in Washington, D.C. They argue that the closing impedes traffic flow unnecessarily and is inconsistent with the well-conceived historic plan for the city. As for security considerations, they note that the White House is set much farther back from the street than numerous other sensitive federal buildings are.
Prior to its inclusion within the fenced compound that now includes the Old Executive Office Building to the west and the Treasury Building to the east, this sidewalk served as a queuing area for the daily public tours of the White House. These tours were suspended in the wake of the September 11 attacks. In September 2003, they resumed on a limited basis for groups making prior arrangements through their Congressional representatives or embassies in Washington for foreign nationals and submitting to background checks, but the White House remained closed to the public. White House tours were suspended for most of 2013 due to budget constraints after sequestration. The White House reopened to the public in November 2013.
Scott #1208 was issued by the United States Post Office Department on January 9, 1963. Portraying the 50-star U.S. flag over an image of the White House, the 5-cent red and blue stamp was perforated 11.