“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.”—President John Adams
On this date in 1800, President John Adams moved into the newly built, but still unfinished, White House. The rooms were damp and drafty. He arrived unannounced with two aides to see the building.
The historian David McCullough describes The White House in 1800: “The immense house was still unfinished. It reeked of wet plaster and wet paint. Fires had to be kept blazing in every fireplace on the main floor to speed up the drying process. Only a twisting back stair had been built between floors. Doors were missing. … Later, supper finished, Adams climbed the backstairs candle in hand and retired for the night.”
During his second day in his new reidence, he wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, which included the above words, which were cut into the mantlepiece of the State Dining Room during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, and remain there.