In 1792, the then US Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, announced an architectural competition to produce design drawings for the President's House. The building was to be more than the home and office of the President; it was to be a symbol of the US presidency. The President, George Washington, therefore insisted that the design should match the most important buildings in Europe.
On July 16, 1792, President Washington examined the designs submitted to the architectural competition. The winning design was by James Hoban, an Irishman whom the President had actually met a year earlier in Charleston.
Born in Desart, near Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland, James Hoban studied architecture at the Royal Dublin Society before emigrating to the United States in 1781. After completing the presidential mansion, Hoben continued to live in the Washington, D.C. area, where he worked on other public buildings and government projects, including the Capitol.
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