The legacies of our past presidents are among the most important lessons we learn in school, but our history books often leave out the quirky and fascinating facts that made the lives of our leaders so remarkable. You probably don’t know which president was the first to serve longer than two terms, or who owned a pet hippo. The facts below are among the most interesting, and you’ll be guaranteed to impress friends and family with your presidential knowledge.
- This president was “OK!” The now famous phrase was popularized because of our 8th president, Martin Van Buren. Van Buren, who was from Kinderhook, NY, was known as Old Kinderhook (OK) during his campaign, and the phrase came to mean “satisfactory” or “all right.”
- At just 43, president John F. Kennedy became the youngest to ever be elected. However, the youngest to assume office was Theodore Roosevelt, at 42 years-old.
- Lefties rejoice—James Garfield, our 20th president, was the first ever left-handed president.
- What a dance! Gerald Ford let his daughter’s senior prom be held in the White House.
- There have been a lot of Jim’s in the White House—6 presidents have been named James: Madison, Buchanan, Monroe, Garfield, Polk, and Carter.
- Our first president, George Washington, was the only president to not belong to a political party.
- What’s in a name? The White House was known as the President’s Palace, President’s House, and the Executive Mansion before Theodore Roosevelt officially named it the White House in 1901.
- Which president had the number 1 for his phone number? Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to use the telephone, and his number was, in fact, 1.
- This president was a speed demon—Ulysses S. Grant was once fined $20 for speeding in his horse and carriage.
- That’s a wild White House! Calvin Coolidge had a pet pygmy hippopotamus named Billy.
- Mere hours before his assassination, Abraham Lincoln is credited with creating the Secret Service.
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