Fun presidential facts
As we prepare for our 45th U.S. president, how well do you know presidents 1–44? Discover something unique about each of them, from Washington to Obama!
1. George Washington
Refused his presidential salary of $25,000 a year.
2. John Adams
Alleged last words on July 4, 1826, 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence: “Thomas Jefferson survives.” The two were friendly rivals, but Adams didn’t realize Jefferson had died earlier the same day.
3. Thomas Jefferson
First president to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C.
4. James Madison
Once arrested (together with Thomas Jefferson) for taking a carriage ride on Sunday in the Vermont countryside … illegal at the time!
5. James Monroe
Has a city in Africa named after him: Monrovia, capital of Liberia.
6. John Quincy Adams
Loved to “skinny dip” in the Potomac River.
7. Andrew Jackson
Had a pet parrot that enjoyed swearing; some say Jackson’s parrot began cursing at the president’s own funeral.
8. Martin Van Buren
Wrote an autobiography after serving as president, and never mentioned his wife of 12 years … not even once.
9. William Henry Harrison
Holds the record for longest inauguration speech in history: 8,578 words long, lasting an hour and 40 minutes. But he delivered that speech in terrible weather, caught pneumonia, and died a month later.
13. Millard Fillmore
His wife Abigail had the first running-water bathtub installed in the White House (keep reading to learn who frequently got stuck in said bathtub)!
14. Franklin Pierce
Took the oath of office with his hand on a law book, not the Bible.
15. James Buchanan
Still the only bachelor president!
16. Abraham Lincoln
A licensed bartender, he co-owned the Springfield, Illinois, saloon Berry and Lincoln.
17. Andrew Johnson
The only tailor ever to be president: he only wore suits he’d made himself.
18. Ulysses S. Grant
Smoked upwards of 20 cigars a day! After his war victory, he was sent 10,000 cigars. He later died of throat cancer.
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
Struggled in his younger life with “lyssophobia”: the fear of going insane.
20. James Garfield
First president ever to talk on the phone. His first call was with Alexander Graham Bell, 13 miles away. Garfield to Bell: “Please speak a little more slowly.”
21. Chester Arthur
A well-dressed man, Arthur was said to own 80 pairs of pants.
22. and 24. Grover Cleveland
Nicknamed “the human iceberg” due to his frosty personality.
23. Benjamin Harrison
Harrison’s father’s body was stolen by grave robbers and sold for use as a training cadaver at an Ohio college.
25. William McKinley
Said to have worn a red carnation in his lapel, which he gave to a young girl just moments before his assassination.
26. Theodore Roosevelt
Every member of his family owned a pair of stilts … even the first lady!
27. William Howard Taft
Nicknamed “Big Bill,” the largest president in U.S. history reputedly kept getting stuck in the White House bathtub.
28. Woodrow Wilson
His image appears on the $100,000 bill, which has mostly been replaced by wire transfers.
29. Warren Harding
A bit of a gambling addict, he allegedly lost a set of White House china in a poker game.
30. Calvin Coolidge
The only president born on the 4th of July.
31. Herbert Hoover
Hoover's family had two pet alligators, which sometimes strolled into the White House.
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt: they shared the same great-great-great-great-grandparents.
33. Harry S. Truman
The “S” in his name doesn’t stand for anything! Truman had no middle name.
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Was a qualified pilot.
41. George H.W. Bush
The only president with four names: George Herbert Walker Bush.
42. Bill Clinton
Once won a “My Little Pony” quiz on an NPR show.
43. George W. Bush
Was head cheerleader at his high school.
44. Barack Obama
Collects comic books. Favorites? Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian!