Keep Presidents’ Day Interesting with Some Presidential Fun Facts

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Usually, when a past or present president’s name comes up in conversation, it’s usually in the context of politics. They’re remembered by what they did right or wrong, by what changes they made while in office, or by the scandals surrounding their name. In high school during my history classes, textbooks only ever covered the big picture events of each presidency, skimming over all the facts that make our presidents interesting! For this Presidents’ Day, discover some fun facts about our country’s leaders!

  • John Tyler fathered the most children. He had 15! He was also the first president to face impeachment.
  • Richard Nixon played the most musical instruments. He could play the piano, clarinet, accordion, violin, cello, and saxophone. He was a bona fide virtuoso!
  • Calvin Coolidge kept the most pets out of any other president. One particularly interesting pet in Coolidge’s menagerie was a pygmy hippo. Overall, he had six dogs, a bobcat, a goose, a donkey, a cat, two lion cubs, an antelope, two raccoons, and a wallaby. Another president with a pension for weird pets was Herbert Hoover, whose son had two pet alligators.
  • William Taft gained the most weight in office. By the end of his first term, he gained 50 pounds. Once he left office, he lost 75 pounds.
  • James Madison was the first president to wear long pants. What a trend setter!
  • Another fashionable president was Andrew Johnson. Having apprenticed under a tailor, Johnson made all his own suits as president. Unfortunately, his style didn’t make him a good president, as he was the first one to ever be impeached.
  • John Quincy Adams was the first to be photographed.
  • Rutherford B. Hayes was the first to use a telephone.
  • Barack Obama was not only the first black president but also the first president to write his own email.
  • James Buchanan was the only bachelor president that the United States has ever had! However, many believe that he was never truly single. During his presidency, there was a lot of speculation about his sexuality and close relationship with Alabama Senator William Rufus King. Though they had the means to afford their own accommodations, they lived together for 10 years.
  • Martin van Buren was the first president to be born in the United States. However, he paid tribute to his German roots by speaking German rather than English at home. In a similar fashion, Herbert Hoover would speak Mandarin with his wife when they wanted a private conversation at home.
  • Andrew Jackson survived a duel – a first among presidents! He participated in approximately 100 duels – all of which were usually a result of someone saying something negative about his wife. In 1806, during one of his many duels, his opponent shot him in the chest. And as a result, he lived with a bullet in his chest for 40 years!
  • Chester Alan Arthur won the sideburns contest! He wore sideburns down to his lapels.
  • James Madison was the shortest president, as well as the smallest. He stood at 5’4″ and weighed a whopping total of 100 pounds.
  • George Washington was the first president to run unopposed. James Monroe was the only other president to run for re-election unopposed.
  • William Henry Harrison gave the longest inauguration speech ever. It was 8,445 words long and last over 90 minutes. Because he delivered this lengthy speech on a cold, wet day, he fell ill and died 33 days into his presidency.
  • James Garfield was ambidextrous and is probably the only president that could write in Greek with one hand and Latin with the other at the same time.
  • Grover Cleveland has been the only president to hold office for two non-consecutive terms. He also married the youngest first lady. Interestingly, Cleveland adopted the 11-year-old orphaned daughter of his dead law partner, who then became his wife 10 years later.
  • Benjamin Harrison was the first president to have electricity in the White House. Unfortunately, the poor man was paranoid about electrocution so he refused to touch the light switches and often went to bed with the lights on.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only president, whose dog, named Fala, was immortalized in a presidential memorial alongside his owner. He’s likely the only president who was afraid of the number 13. His paranoia was so real that he refused to dine with a party of 13, and he would not leave for a trip on the 13th of any month.
  • Gerald Ford is the only president to never be elected by the voting public to president or vice president. Ford became president because VP Spiro Agnew resigned, followed shortly thereafter by Nixon.
  • A first and probably the only appearance made in a Playboy magazine was Jimmy Carter.
  • Bill Clinton is the only president to have not only one Grammy but two! He won Best Spoken Word Album, as well as Best Spoken Word Album for Children.

We at Empower Brokerage want to wish you a happy Presidents’ Day! 

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