It was an "ill-kept and dirty rickety concern," according to presidential secretary John G. Nicolay. "I wonder how much longer a great nation, as ours is, will compel its ruler to live in such a small and dilapidated old shanty, and in such a shabby-genteel style." A Nicolay associate in the President's office, was less critical, describing the White House as "a very respectable building of brick and stone, painted white, built in the form of a parallelogram, two stories high fronting north; but, owing to the declivity, three stories fronting south toward the Potomac."
President Abraham Lincoln himself once called it "this damned house," and when he was besieged by office seekers and afflicted by bad news from the war front, the White House must have seemed truly damned. But, despite its drawbacks, the White House was a clear improvement on the family's previous living accommodations. Indeed, the President also declared it was "better than any house they have ever lived in." For the four years and one month of Mr. Lincoln's presidency from March 1861 to April 1865, it was home to the Lincoln family and the center of efforts to restore the Union and abolish slavery.
You're going to feel like almost like you've actually been there once you've taken this state-of-the-art virtual tour.