We all know and love the tradition of the White House Gingerbread House, so in honor of the great George Washington’s birthday, otherwise known as Presidents’ Day, we thought we’d see what other recreations of our favorite symbol of democracy might exist. From Southern mansions (yes, plural) to the Zweifel family’s labor of love to a miniature park in Austria, click through to see where and why so many recreations of our President’s Neoclassical abode have been made. It might have something to do with the fact that the American Institute of Architects ranked the White House second on their survey of “America’s Favorite Architecture“, just behind the Empire State Building. Then again, it might be that people are just plain weird. Be patriotic and let us know in the comments what tops your list of favorite American architecture.
Minimundus, Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, Austria
Image credit: Natter 17
Minimundas is a theme park on Lake Wörthersee in Austria to benefit Save the Children where “approximately 150 models of famous structures, trains, and ships take visitors on a trip around the world in miniature format.” Included in the park’s pint-sized offerings: the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, St Peter’s Basilica, the Statue of Liberty — and of course, the White House at a perfect 1:25 scale!
1111 Towlston Road, McLean, Virginia
Image credit: Curbed
A local news channel reported that a Vietnamese engineer used White House blueprints to build this replica “out of love for the country that took him in as a refugee in the mid-’70s.” His version — which went on the market last spring for $4.65 million — is one-fifth the size of the real thing, and in case you were wondering, it does have an Oval Office and a Lincoln Bedroom.
3687 Briarcliff Road NE, Atlanta, Georgia
Image credit: Atlanta Time Machine
Constructed by Iranian-American property developer Fred Milani back in 2002, this copy is 3/4 the size of the Washington original sits in his backyard. The New York Times reported that “inside its wrought-iron gates, the Atlanta White House is a singular pastiche of Middle Eastern décor (wall rugs, a hookah), American political kitsch (Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation painted onto a bedroom wall), religious iconography (a tapestry of The Last Supper, a giant crucifix) and self-promotion (an ‘M’ tiled into the pool, a bust of Mr. Milani).” And yes, the shrubbery in the front yard does read God Heart You.
When asked why exactly he built a scale replica of our country’s most famous address, Mr. Milani answered “Really, I am not very political. The architect said, ‘How about I build you the White House?’ and I said yes. That is the whole story.”
60 White House Drive SW, Atlanta, Georgia
Image credit: Atlanta Time Machine
The lesser known Atlanta White House replica is actually a recreation of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s private residence the Little White House. It was built for Graham Jackson, a favorite musician of Mr. Roosevelt, in tribute to the late president.
The White House in Miniature, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Image credit: Custom Dolls, Houses and Miniatures
Considered to be one of the world’s greatest miniature houses, John and Jan Zweifel’s recreation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a labor of love 38 years in the making, and is updated with each administration. Built at a one-foot-to-one-inch scale, the touring replica allows millions a glimpse into the off-limits life of each president.
Quality West Wing Oval Office, Corona, California
Image credit: Quality West Wing
As the site for Quality West Wing explains, “few students are fortunate to make the journey to Washington DC and experience our nation’s Capitol first hand. Bud Gordon decided to create the next best thing. He designed a tour that includes authentic replicas of our governmental institutions that would bring them to life for local students.” Thanks for another option, Uncle Bud.
On the way to Diamantina Mine, Minas Gerias, Brazil
Image credit: Brazil Geo Mine Tour
A White House replica in Brazil built by an “eccentric millionaire.”
Huang Qiaoling’s White House, Hangzhou, China
Image credit: Next Nature
Huang Qiaoling, one of the richest men in China, built a $10 million replica of the White House in his garden so that he could “meet business associates in the Oval Office.” As TIME Magazine reported, Huang made a few tweaks to suit his personal taste. For example: “In one cabinet, Huang has substituted tomes on American history with minibar bottles of Remy Martin and a gaggle of dime-store ceramic ducks. On the mantelpiece of the Green Room stands a statue of Genghis Khan, whom ‘President Huang,’ as his staff insists on calling him, counts as his personal hero. And outside the window of the Blue Room, which Huang uses as his office, is a one-third-size Mount Rushmore with employees’ quarters tucked in the back.”
The Blue White House in Chatham, Illinois
Image credit: Chicago Magazine
How do you ensure that your 7,970-square-foot replica of the White House stands out from the other wannabees? By making it out of imported Italian blue brick, of course. Located on the South Side of Chicago, this house, which was originally built in homage back in 1966, hit the market in September 2010 for an asking price of $1 million.
The White House in Jell-O
Detail from: The First 100 Days (the White House in Jell-O), 2009. C-Print. Courtesy of Liz Hickok
And finally, we conclude our list with something less inhabitable, more edible. This Jell-O replica of the White House by San Francisco-based artist Liz Hickok was part of a larger series that “depicts a hopeful vision of the positive changes that the White House will go through with Obama in residence.”