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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


Happy 285th Birthday George Washington: 45 fun facts about the presidents of the United States


Slider image from Picryl.

Why do we celebrate Presidents’ Day? Every year, many Americans get the day off work and school to celebrate our very first president, George Washington’s birthday. This year is 285 years since Washington’s birthday. The day is in honor of both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, for all they contributed to make this country what it is today. Some people treat it as a day to honor all the past presidents. The very first Presidents’ Day was celebrated in the 1880’s, when the birthday of Washington was first established as a federal holiday. In honor of the holiday, here are some fun facts about each of the presidents who have led the United States the past 243 years. 

George Washington, the first president, only had a grade school education.

President John Adams visited Shakespeare’s home with his soon to be enemy Thomas Jefferson while on a diplomatic trip in Europe. Adams was known for his interest in Shakespeare, and he passed this interest onto his son. While at his house, Adams and Jefferson took a wood chip from one of Shakespere’s chairs as a souvenir. 

Jefferson, the third president, invented the swivel chair.

Adams and Jefferson died on the same day- July 4, 1826.

James Madison was the smallest president, standing at a whopping five feet and four inches and weighed 100 pounds.

James Monroe served as the fifth president, and he died exactly five years after Adams and Jefferson, on July 4, 1831.

John Quincy Adams, the son of President John Adams, was known for swimming naked every morning in the Potomac River.

The seventh president, Andrew Jackson, taught his parrot how to curse. Allegedly, the bird had to be removed from his funeral because it would not stop cursing.

Martin Van Buren was the first president to be born in the United States after the American Revolution.

William Henry Harrison holds the record for giving the longest inauguration speech (over 90 minutes) on a cold, wet day. He died 33 days into his presidency.

John Tyler was the tenth president, and he was the most hated president of his time. Upon his death, Lincoln did not issue a mourning proclamation, and the flags were not placed at half mast.

James K. Polk was possibly the most boring president. He banned alcohol, card playing, and dancing from the White House.

Our twelfth president, Zachary Taylor, died a few days after eating cherries and iced milk on the Fourth of July. 

Millard Fiillmore married his school teacher. 

Franklin Pierce was arrested for allegedly running over an old lady with a horse. 

James Buchanan has the reputation of being the only president to serve as a bachelor. There is speculation about his sexuality though, as some historians think he may have been seeing Alabama Senator William Rufus King behind the scenes.

The famous Abraham Lincoln was an amazing wrestler. He won over 300 matches.

Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth president, had a rough childhood. After his father’s death, Johnson’s mom sent him and his brother to be indentured servants for a tailor. They ran away two years later and were never found. Because of all he learned with the tailor, Johnson made all of his own suits during his presidency. 

Ulysses S. Grant dismantled the Ku Klux Klan during his presidency. Unfortunately, they regrouped years later.

Rutherford B. Hayes was nicknamed “Granny Hayes” because he did not drink, smoke, or gamble.

The twentieth president, James A. Garfield was ambidextrous, and he could write in Greek with one hand, while similtaniously writing in Latin with the other.

The twenty-first president, Chester A. Arthur redecorated the White House by using money he got from selling 24 wagon loads of historical relics, including a pair of Lincoln’s pants and one of Quincy Adams’ hats.

Grover Cleveland became the legal guardian to his friend’s orphaned 11-year-old daughter. Ten years later, they married each other, making her the youngest First Lady, at age 21. He is also the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, making him the 22nd and 24th president.

Benjamin Harrison was the first president to have electricity in the White House, and he was so afraid that the light switched would electrocute him that he would sleep with the lights on.

William Mckinley, the twenty fifth president, wore carnations everywhere he went and saw them as a good luck charm.

Theodore Roosevelt’s wife and mother both died on Valentine’s Day in 1884. His journal from that day read, “The light has gone out of my life.” He also delivered an hour and a half speech with a bullet lodged in his chest after having been shot by a would-be assassin.

In fear of the beloved ‘Teddy Bear’ (named after Roosevelt) fading out, toy manufacturers created Billy Possum after William H. Taft. The toy was based on Taft scarfing down a full possum at dinner one night.

Incredible stress led to multiple strokes and eventually paralyzation and blindness for the 28th president Woodrow Wilson. He continued his presidency with the generous help from his wife Edith Bolling Galt, who is actually one of Pochahontas’ descendants.

Warren G. Harding had multiple affairs, one resulting in a child. The mother of said child, Nan Britton, wrote a book titled “The President’s Daughter.”

Calvin Coolidge had a strange morning ritual. He would have someone rub vaseline on his head each day while he sat down for breakfast. He also had two pet racoons named Reuben and Rebbeca.

Herbert Hoover’s son had two pet alligators who ran around the White House grounds. Hoover also wanted his servants to be ‘invisible.’ He would have them jump into closets when he walked in a room. If he saw them, they would be fired.

Franklin D. Roosevelt married his cousin Elenor, and she didn’t have to change her last name when they married. He was also afraid of the number 13, and would refuse to have dinner with that number of people, or leave town on the 13th of any given month.

Harry S. Truman met his wife in Sunday School when he was only six years old.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to fly in a helicopter. 

John F. Kennedy’s family was wealthy. He, along with each of his nine siblings, received a million dollars as a 21st birthday gift. 

While in the military during World War II, Lyndon B. Johnson was supposed to board a plane for his only bombing mission. He left to use the bathroom, and the plane took off without him. The plane ended up crashing and all of the passengers died in the crash.

Richard Nixon, the 37th president, loved bowling so much that he put a one-lane bowling alley in the basement of the White House.

Gerald R. Ford’s real name was Leslie Lynch King, Jr. His daughter, Susan, hosted a prom at the White House.

Jimmy Carter gave up his military career to save his family’s peanut farm.

Young Ronald Reagan was a successful actor and football player before he began his political career. He was also a lifeguard, where he saved 77 lives. 

George H. W. Bush vomited all over the Japanese Prime Minister during his presidency. He inspired the Japanese word “Bushusuru,” meaning “to do the Bush thing,” that “thing” being throwing up.

William J. Clinton has won two Grammys. 

George W. Bush was his high school’s head cheerleader.

Barack Obama, while living in Indonesia had a pet ape named Tata. He also worked at Baskin Robbins as a teenager, which made him hate ice cream.

Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, was the host of a reality show called “The Apprentice,” where contestants participated in business challenges to compete for a spot within the Trump Organization.

And finally, President Joe Biden, the current president is the oldest president to be inaugurated at age 78. 

Presidents’ day is a day to honor and celebrate our past presidents and all they did for the United States during their time in office. Although most people do not do anything to celebrate, it is a good time to reflect back on all of our country’s past leaders. Presidents’ day has already passed this year, but next year you could celebrate by eating George H. W. Bush’s favorite food- popcorn. Or, you could bake a cake and sing Happy Birthday to George Washington. 

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