Feb. 22, 2011 — Since I started working at the Lassen County Times in 2005, I have kept every single newspaper, wondering what would be the best way to archive my favorite articles.
About two and a half years ago, I found that solution, but had accumulated approximately 156 newspapers. So, when I found a spare moment or was feeling overly ambitious, I would work on cutting and pasting article after article onto a 12 by 12 piece of paper that was put into a scrapbook. Finally, I have started to see the light at the end of the tunnel on that project, but it has been fun to look at some of the stories from the past, especially from the early days.
Several months ago, I came across one of my favorite columns, “Fun facts about the presidents,” written in 2007 for President’s Day. We are always learning about the policies that shaped a president’s administration, but I enjoy those Jeopardy style pieces of information that give us a look at the personal side of our presidents.
Some of the “fun facts” that I found amusing are that President Millard Filmore was the first to have running water and a cooking stove in the White House. President Ulysses S. Grant was fined $20 for speeding with his horse and carriage in Washington, D.C. President Franklin Pierce memorized his 3,319 word inaugural speech. Yikes!
So, in honor of another President’s Day and the leaders of the free world here is fun facts about the presidents part deux.
Thomas Jefferson the third president became the first president to shake hands with White House visitors. Before that, with presidents, John Adams and George Washington, dignitaries bowed to the president.
Fifth president James Monroe’s daughter was the first to be married in the White House.
President Martin Van Buren the eighth president, created the word OK. Van Buren was from Old Kinderhook, N.Y. and O.K. clubs formed to support the president during his campaign. Eventually, OK came to mean all right.
Ninth president William Henry Harrison was the only president who studied to be a doctor and served the shortest presidency at 32 days because he died of pneumonia.
James Garfield, the 20th president was the last of seven presidents to be born in a log cabin.
Theodore Roosevelt officially named the White House in 1901. Before, it was called the President’s Palace, President’s House and Executive Mansion.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first president whose mother was eligible to vote for him and he was also the first to ride in an airplane during his presidency.
Some presidents worked in other jobs not related to politics before serving in the White House.
Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer, Lyndon B. Johnson worked briefly as a teacher, for a summer, Gerald Ford was a park ranger for Yellowstone National and William G. Harding, the 29th president, was a newspaper publisher.
President’s Day was originally formed as a federal holiday in 1880 and was observed by the federal offices in the District of Columbia.
In 1885, the holiday incorporated all federal offices and was held on the actual day of Washington’s birthday on Feb. 22.
In 1971, the holiday was moved to the third Monday in February and renamed President’s Day. However, some states take the time to honor other presidents, too.
All of the presidents from New England are recognized in Massachusetts and Alabama observes the holiday as Washington and Jefferson day.
There are so many interesting facts about our presidents that they would probably fill a whole newspaper, maybe that means a part three is in the future. I found these facts just as interesting as the first and hope you found some if not all of these bits of information fascinating, too.
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