Make it a point to sit down together for dinner this week and get the conversation going with these interesting facts for President’s Day. Also, play a little game and see who can name the most presidents. Winner gets the first piece of dessert!
- George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth. Likely his dentures were made of hippopotamus ivory, bone, animal and human teeth, lead, brass screws and gold wire, but his liking of red wine stained them.
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, July 4, 1826 — also, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
- James Madison was our smallest president. He stood at 5’4″ and weighed around 100 pounds.
- James Monroe also died on July 4th. In 1831, he was the last surviving Founding Father, dying five years after Jefferson and Adams passed and 55 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed.
- John Quincy Adams liked to skinny dip in the Potomac River. A reporter heard of this and sat on his clothes until granted an interview one morning.
- Martin Van Buren was homegrown. He was the first president actually born in the United States.
- William Henry Harrison was long-winded but not long lived. After delivering the longest inaugural speech in history in 1841, he fell ill and died 33 days into his presidency.
- James K. Polk did not polka. He was known for banning dancing (and drinking) in the White House.
- Abraham Lincoln was a wrestler. A good one, he won all but 1 of his 300 matches.
- Andrew Johnson was really a tailor. Originally sold as an indentured servant during childhood, he learned to sew and made all his own suits while in office.
- Ulysses S. Grant was supposed to be at the theater with Lincoln. He never forgave himself for not being at Ford’s Theater the night of the assassination.
- Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular election, too. However, he squeezed out the electoral college by one vote.
- James Garfield could write with both hands at the same time. Famously, he wrote in Latin with one and Greek with the other.
- Benjamin Harrison wasn’t afraid of the dark. But as the first president with electricity in the White House, he was afraid of electrocution from the light switches.
- Grover Cleveland was president twice… just not back to back. He served from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897.
- William McKinley considered carnations his good luck charm. He was assassinated shortly after giving a little girl the one off his lapel.
- Theodore Roosevelt was just a big teddy bear. Seriously. The toy was produced after word got out he refused to shoot a bear cub on a hunting trip.
- Woodrow Wilson’s wife was a descendent of Pocahontas. Edith Bolling Galt was also known as the “Presidentress” for the help she provided her husband in office following his strokes.
- Calvin Coolidge brought his pet raccoons to the White House. Reuben and Rebecca Raccoon often roamed free through the corridors.
- Herbert Hoover also had weird pets. He brought two alligators to the White House.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt loved his pet, too. His dog, Fala, was popular with the media and is buried with him.
- John F. Kennedy didn’t need his father’s recommendation for Harvard. His dad wrote in a letter that JFK was “careless and lacked application” but he got in anyway.
- Richard Nixon loved to bowl. He put in a one lane alley for the White House.
- Gerald Ford is the only president never to have been elected. He became president following the resignation of Nixon’s first Vice President Spiro Agnew and the resignation of Nixon himself.
- Ronald Reagan looked to the stars. Known for his Hollywood background, Reagan also consulted an astrologer before making big decisions.
- George W. Bush loved Texas football. So much so, he was his high school’s head cheerleader.
- Barack Obama was the “O’bomber” in high school. This was due to his great basketball abilities.
Happy President’s Day!