10 Quirky Things You Never Knew About White House History

For example: The light switches terrified one president.

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Getty Images

Recently, there's been quite a bit of chatter about just how much the White House is worth (you know, just in case you're holding up for a "for sale" sign to pop up in front, though we imagine that's pretty unlikely). Still, the figures are fascinating: reports that the estimates range from $90 million all the way to $250 million.

This got us thinking — while many people know plenty about celebrity homes and other famous houses in America, what else is unknown about the White House? To be honest: probably the following quirky facts. Read on to discover the tidbits about the People's House you never knew.

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It was designed to look like Irish Parliament.
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Getty Images

George Washington preferred the  because it was a far cry from Europe's royal palaces. 

There are 147 windows.
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There are also , 28 fireplaces, eight staircases and three elevators. Who knew?

The White House kitchen staff can serve dinner for up to 140 guests.
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But the First Family has to pay their own . 

It takes 570 gallons of paint to cover the exterior.
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Getty Images

The exact shade is called "Whisper White," and it's made by Duron. Painting the White House sandstone $283,000 in 1994. 

Presidents aren't afraid to break a sweat on White House grounds.
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President Obama redesigned the tennis court so it could also be used for basketball, George H.W. Bush  and Richard Nixon added a bowling alley. 

Jackie Kennedy established a committee for acquiring antique furniture in the '60s.
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Jackie O. famously brought in Sister Parrish to refurbish the president's living quarters, too. Ever since then, subsequent presidents – including President Obama, who hired Michael S. Smith – have tasked an interior designer with working alongside he and the First Lady to curate and preserve the White House.

Hillary Clinton created a music room for Bill Clinton as a Christmas present.
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Clinton Library

She decorated the third floor space – which used to be – with music memorabilia.  

There's a swimming pool under the press briefing room.
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used it to exercise his polio-stricken legs. JFK swam in it twice a day – once at noon, and again in the evenings. 

President Benjamin Harrison was afraid of the light switches.
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White House Historical Association

Electricity was first installed in the White House during his presidency in 1891 – and, given the crude nature of electrical technology back then, it was a valid fear. He reportedly had White House staff . 

Caroline and John Kennedy crashed the Oval Office to trick-or-treat.
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John F. Kennedy Presidential Library And Museum/NARA

, First Families have held a trick-or-treating event to benefit a charitable organization. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower was the first to decorate the White House for Halloween in 1958. 

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