Little Know Facts of U.S. History

    Anyone could come to Andrew Jackson's public parties at the White House, and just about everyone did! At his last one, a wheel of cheese weighing 1,400 lbs. was eaten in two hours. The White House smelled of cheese for weeks.


Zachary Taylor spent July 4, 1850, eating cherries and milk at a ceremony at the Washington Monument. He got sick from the heat and died five days later, the second president to die in office.


James Buchanan was certainly a good host. When England's Prince of Wales came to visit in the fall of 1860, so many guests came with him, it's said the president slept in the hallway!


During the Civil War, telegraph wires were strung to follow the action on the battlefield. But there was no telegraph office in the White House, so Lincoln went across the street to the War Department to get the news.


In 1879, the first telephone was installed in the White House. At first it was hardly used because there weren't many other phones in Washington to call.


Interesting Fact: James Garfield was the second president shot in office. Doctors tried to find the bullet with a metal detector invented by Alexander Graham Bell. But the device failed because Garfield was placed on a bed with metal springs, and no one thought to move him. He died on September 19, 1881.


Rutherford B. Hayes gained the Presidency by a margin of only one electoral vote.


Though President Richard Nixon disliked much of the press, he had the White House swimming pool filled in, to give reporters more room when covering White House events. But one president's decisions about the White House don't always please the next. After Richard Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, and Gerald Ford became president, his friends had another pool dug on the White House lawn.


The White House was a very busy place during Grover Cleveland's first term. He and the first lady would shake hands with as many as 8,000 callers at a New Year's Day reception. Crowds entered through the doors and through the East Room windows.


Of Chief Executives, only Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of a President.


William Taft gave the White House its first set of "wheels." He had the stables converted into a garage for four cars, all ordered in 1909.


President Taft was a huge man, weighing more than 300 pounds. A special bathtub was installed for him in the White House, big enough to hold four men.


Sheep on the White House lawn? A flock of sheep grazed during Woodrow Wilson's term. Their wool was sold to raise money for the Red Cross during World War I.


Calvin Coolidge, a president of few words, was so famous for saying so little that a White House dinner guest made a bet that she could get the president to say more than two words. She told the president of her wager. His reply: "You lose."


Parties at the White House during Herbert Hoover's term were big events. As many as 4,000 invitations to a gala would be loaded on trucks and hand delivered around Washington.


You know your house needs repair when a piano leg goes through the floor! Right? It happened in Harry Truman's White House in 1948.


Thomas Jefferson sold his library of approximately 6,000 books for $23,950 and they became the basis of the Library of Congress.


President Eisenhower, an avid golfer, had a putting green installed on the White House lawn. He also banished squirrels from the grounds because they were ruining the green.


To avoid long encounters with the press, President Ronald Reagan often took reporters' questions with his helicopter roaring in the background.


Lyndon Johnson enjoyed the soda Fresca so much, he had a special tap installed in the White House.


All of the presidents to date have had at least one sibling (Bill Clinton has a half-brother).


While president, Ulysses S. Grant was arrested and fined $20 for driving his horse too fast.


Theodore Roosevelt wore a ring containing a lock of Lincoln's hair to his inauguration.


James Madison was the shortest president.


The teddy bear is named for Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt.
See also:
« Presidential Trivia
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