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7 Strange Secrets Of The White House

U.S. Marine Band / White House Museum

Have you ever wondered what it's like living in the White House?

Eating gourmet meals cooked by a world-class chef is just one of the perks that comes with the job of commander-in-chief.

And while it's definitely a tough job, going to bed in the East Wing every night probably makes all the meetings and memos worth it.

White House
White House

The president also learns all the ins and outs of this famous building, including seven unusual secrets the public doesn't know.

1. There's no free lunch

A big misunderstanding about life in the White House is that the president and his family get a free ride after they're voted in.

White House
White House - Flickr

In fact, once a month the First Family get a bill for their stay, and the costs add up quickly.

Everything from dry cleaning and toiletries to food is tallied up and taken out of the president's $400,000 salary.

The president even foots the bill for waiters and cleanup staff for some White House events.

2. Moving in is a serious pain

Moving Day

Forget renting a U-Haul truck, moving a new president into the White House and a former president out on the same day is a massive operation.

Crews start packing at noon, and could be hard at work until midnight unpacking the new items.

And once again, the president and former president arrange the details of their moves and cover all the costs.

All that and you still have to choose what color curtains go in the Oval Office.

3. Special rooms

White House
White House

The White house is a realtor's dream, with 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms and 28 fireplaces.

The entire building takes up roughly 55,000 square feet of space, and you'll find more than 400 doors and 147 windows spread out over its six levels.

While the Oval Office and Situation Room are famous, the White House also boasts a game room, music room, bowling alley, movie theater, swimming pool, and hot tub.

Swimming pool
White House Museum

The first underground level of the home is almost like a mini mall for White House staff, with a chocolate shop, flower shop, and a dentist's office.

Sadly, there are no hidden passages or secret halls, unless you count the tunnel to the World Word 2-era bomb shelter.

4. Demanding houseguests

Every president leaves his own mark on the White House, for better or for worse.

FDR added wheelchair ramps and elevators to the White House.FDR Presidential Library and Museum

Benjamin Harrison brought electric lights to the building in 1891, but was so terrified of the light switches he never turned them off - even at night.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made the entire house wheelchair accessible, as he was secretly living with polio. He also added an indoor pool for his physical therapy.

LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

Lyndon Johnson, meanwhile, was interested in water pressure. He had a custom shower built with four high-powered water nozzles strong enough to pin a man against the shower wall.

5. Famous pets

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is pet friendly, and not just for dogs and cats.

JFK with Macaroni the pony.Web Archive

John Quincy Adams was known for keeping a live alligator in one of the bathrooms to frighten his guests.

Teddy Roosevelt's daughter also owned a snake named Emily Spinach.

But Calvin Coolidge's White House zoo was home to the most bizarre pets.

Rebecca Raccoon
Grace Coolidge and her raccoon Rebecca.Library of Congress

He kept bears, lion cubs, bobcats, wallabies and a 600-pound pygmy hippo on the grounds. Meanwhile, his wife Grace kept a pet raccoon named Rebecca.

President Trump is only the third president to not have a pet in the White House. But Vice President Pence does have a pet rabbit named Marlon Bundo.

6. A haunted house?

George W. Bush's daughter, Jenna Bush-Hager, is one of many people who claim they were visited by a spirit in the White House.


She described being woken up by eerie "1920s music" playing from the fireplace in her room.

A number of ghosts are said to walk the East Wing, including a soldier from the War of 1812 and even Abraham Lincoln.

Grace Coolidge, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, and Winston Churchill all say they met Lincoln's ghost.

But Churchill probably scared Lincoln, because he was naked and fresh out of the tub at the time.

7. It's a popular place

According to the White House, the president gets more than 30,000 visitors a day.

White House
White House

While not everyone can make the trip to Washington, the house also gets 65,000 letters, 3,500 phone calls, 100,000 emails, and 1,000 faxes on any given day.

It's easily the most visited home in America, with Graceland taking second place for drawing 600,000 tourists a year.

Despite the White House's popularity, it might have trouble finding a buyer if it ever went up for sale.

Real estate site Zillow guesses that the home is worth $412 million.

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