Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 106 Part 6.djvu/862

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106 STAT. 5420 PROCLAMATION 6488—OCT. 9, 1992 and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth. GEORGEBUSH Proclamation 6488 of October 9, 1992 In Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the White House By the President of the United states of America A Proclamation The home of our Nation's Presidents is a house that truly belongs to the American people, and as we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the laying of the White House cornerstone, we also celebrate the great system of democratic government that this historic building symbolizes to our Nation and the world. Although the White House cornerstone was dedicated on October 13, 1792, the story of the famous home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue actually begins with the framing of our Constitution several years earlier. In Article 1, Section 8, of that great document, our Nation's Founders provided for the establishment of a special district to serve "as the Seat of the Government of the United States." Under the direction of President George Washington, a site was selected for the Federal City in January 1791, and the district eventually began to take shape according to the grand vision of Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant, who submitted his plans to the Congress in December of that year. In early 1792, the Commissioners for the District of Columbia advertised a nationwide competition for the design of the President's house. They chose the entry of Irish-born architect James Hoban, perhaps mindful of President Washington's recommendation that "for the President's house, I would design a building that should also look forward, but execute no more of it at present than might suit the circumstances of this country, when it shall be first wanted." President Washington never inhabited the White House, but when it was occupied by President John Adams and his family in 1800, Abigail Adams wrote to her sister that the stately yet unfinished "castle of a house" appeared "built for ages to come." In its beauty and elegance, the White House looked forward with all the exuberance and optimism of our young Republic. At the same time, however, its simple balance of form and function reflected an unpretentious spirit befitting our system of limited government and representative democracy. The White House underwent a number of changes and additions in succeeding years, with President Thomas Jefferson and architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe designing its terraces and interior, respectively. In 1814, the building was nearly destroyed by fire when British forces invaded the city of Washington, and today Dolley Madison's rescue of Gilbert Stuart's famous portrait of George Washington, along with her husband's papers, is a celebrated part of White House history and folklore. Sadly, the exterior sandstone walls and interior brickwork were all that remained of the White House when James Hoban was asked to begin its reconstruction. Not until the Presidency of Andrew Jackson