James Hoban and The White House
Is James Hoban the best Irish born architect ever? I will let you decide after you read his story. James Hoban was born in Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1758 in a small house. His catholic parents worked as servants in Desart Court which was a grand mansion. Early on in his life he was disadvantaged because of the anti-Catholic Penal law. The law stipulated Hoban was not allowed to go to school but he still managed to go to the Royal Dublin Society
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One of the changes Washington wanted Hoban to make was regarding the size of the house. President Washington wanted a big house. Once they agreed on the drawing, Hoban started the construction. But he had a problem: the basement had already been constructed by Enfant and it was way too big for the house Hoban had designed. He found a solution and was able to build it anyways. Then when the House was almost finished, Washington’s term expired: he never got to live in the White House, even though he had been a big influence in it’s construction. Then President Adams was elected and he liked Hoban so much that he decided to give him a promotion and made him chief architect of the capitol. Then the White House was finally ready to move in. But Adams only stayed there for four months because Thomas Jefferson got elected. One of the first things he did as the President was to fire Hoban and name himself as the chief architect of the capitol. Some people say that it is because he was jealous about Hoban winning the contest, but we will never know.
James Hoban was hired back when James Madison became president. And his task would be as big as the first one because he had to re-build the house after the English burned it. At first, Hoban thought he would not have to start from scratch since the base would already be there. But when he went to see the house he realized that he would have to build the