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President's Day Fun: 3 Fascinating Facts About Plumbing in the White House!

The White House is the iconic, quintessential symbol of the Presidency. It was designed to be a grand place suitable for a world leader, but when the first stone was laid in 1792, the White House did not have the modern convenience of plumbing. 

But, plumbing soon came to the White House, and with it came a collage of fascinating history and stories as the pipes of the White House became a part of history. There's so much more to the plumbing of the President's house than just pipes and water!

Plumbing Comes To 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 

The White House's first iteration was designed by James Hoban and took eight years to complete, from 1792-1800. But no significant plumbing was installed until President John Quincy Adams had an iron garden spout installed to assist in his gardening sometime between 1825 and 1829. 

It was not until after the British burned down the White House in 1814 and a second iteration was built again in 1833 that plumbing piping water into the White House was installed. In 1834 a bathing room was installed for the residents, too. 

President Pierce soon improved the plumbing of the White House even more. By 1853, plumbing was installed on the White House's second floor, a permanent fixture that included hot and cold water to be piped into baths and showers.

President Taft's Presidential Custom Bathtub

white house

The leader of the Free World probably needs a relaxing bath after a long day spent making policy and guiding the American people, right? Well, President Taft certainly thought so. William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States. His nickname was "Big Bill," a nod to his enormous size.

President Taft topped the scales at 350 pounds and holds the record for being the largest president to serve in the Oval Office. Such a large man required a larger tub than was had in the White House. In 1909, President Taft was the proud recipient of a custom bathtub over 7 feet long, weighing over a ton, which he used on his sea-faring journey with the USS North Carolina crew. Soon after, similarly-sized tubs were installed in the White House and other important locations the Taft family visited. 

A folk-story tells the tale of President Taft becoming stuck in the bathtub and needing the aid of six men to be pulled free. Of course, the story did not come about until two decades after Taft's presidency, and while likely untrue, the story remains a popular tale told in the White House halls. 

Nixon's "Plumbers" of Watergate

The White House's plumbing takes care of the unsavory waste of its occupants, and Nixon's White House Plumbers were founded to do the same thing with confidential information. While there are designated plumbers who work for the White House to maintain its plumbing, Nixon's Plumbers were an elite team of spies set to prevent intelligence leaks and collect intel to serve President Nixon's agendas.


Originally, the White House Plumbers were tasked with gathering information on the leaker of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg. The Plumbers continued stopping leaks like any top-notch squad of plumbers, but their leaks were of the informational variety. It was the White House Plumbers that bungled the Watergate incident and ultimately led to President Nixon's resignation and demise. 

The plumbing of the White House has seen many great moments in history. Since they were first installed, the pipes, faucets, and bathtubs of the White House have become a piece of American history!

About Apple Valley Plumbing Company

Apple Valley Plumbing Company got its start with a dream to serve their neighbors with quality plumbing. Community is everything to the team at Apple Valley Plumbing Company. That's why they strive to offer reliable, affordable plumbing services to every client. Contact them to schedule plumbing service in Apple Valley, MN today!

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