This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for October 13, 2016: Standard Plumbing

Oct. 13, 2016: on this day: cornerstone of the White House laid

The cornerstone of the White House was laid on this date in 1792, on a site chosen by George Washington. The Commissioners of the District held a contest soliciting designs for the mansion. Hundreds of people entered the competition, including Thomas Jefferson, but first prize — an award of $500 — went to James Hoban, a young Irish immigrant and Freemason from County Kilkenny. Hoban based his design on Leinster House, a Dublin mansion that was the birthplace of Irish Freemasonry. The presidential residence was the first public building erected in Washington. Its gray-white sandstone was distinctive among the brick buildings that rose up around it in subsequent years, so it was informally dubbed “the White House” in 1812. Theodore Roosevelt made the name official in 1901.