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10 Fun Facts about U.S. Presidents

By - Posted on February 15, 2018

As schoolchildren, we learn all kinds of facts about the presidents of the United States.  We learn when they served, what changes they made in office, and how they led our country. In honor of Presidents’ Day on February 19, we’ve compiled some of the more fun and off-beat facts about our nation’s leaders that you may not have been taught in your history class.  

 

 1. George Washington’s hippo ivory teeth  

 America’s first president experienced tooth loss beginning in his twenties. He wore dentures while in office but contrary to the legend, they were not made of wood. His false teeth were made out of hippopotamus ivory, gold wire springs, brass screws and human teeth.  A full set of his dentures is kept at Mount Vernon 

 2. John Quincy Adams skinny-dipped in Potomac 

 The sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams was an avid skinny dipper. While serving in office, his morning routine consisted of swimming in the Potomac River nude.  

There is also this sometimes-disputed story: President Adams was the first President to grant an interview to a female reporter–and his skinny dipping played a role. The reporter, Anne Royall, had been refused interviews with the president in the past, but she knew about his daily 5 a.m. swim. So one morning she went to the river, sat on his clothes and would not leave until he gave her an interview – which according to the legend, he did. While some sources have reported the story as true, other sources claim that it is just a rumor.  

 3. Petite James Madison 

 At 5’ 4”, President James Madison was the smallest president and weighed less than 100 pounds. 

 4. Fast and furious President Grant 

President Ulysses S. Grant was arrested for driving his horse and carriage with excessive speed down a Washington D.C. street. He was pulled over, fined, and the carriage was impounded. The 18th president was known for his love of speeding and his habit of riding fast had caused him to have several run-ins with the law.

5. Honest Abe’s wrestling skills 

President Abraham Lincoln was a skilled wrestler. His wrestling prowess was mentioned during several of his political campaigns both by his supporters and an opponent.  

 6. President Arthur’s White House yard sale 

Once he moved into the White House, the 21st president of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, figured that he could get rid of his predecessors’ stuff and make some quick cash for redecorating his new home by holding a yard sale. President Arthur was very fashionable and didn’t want to live with items that he thought were ugly. The sale took place on the White House lawn and among the things that were sold to citizens were a pair of Abraham Lincoln’s pants and a hat that had belonged to John Quincy Adams.  

 7. President Roosevelt’s stilts 

 President Theodore Roosevelt’s family members were stilt enthusiasts. All the children had wooden stilts and some sources say the President and the First Lady did too.   

 8. President JFK’s fender bender with Larry King 

In his autobiography, talk show host Larry King wrote about an incident that occurred in 1958. King was driving in South Florida and hit President John F. Kennedy’s parked car. JFK who was a senator at the time, was mad and yelled at King, “Early Sunday morning, no traffic, not a cloud in the sky, I’m parked—how could you run into me?”

9. Honest Abe’s wrestling skills 

 President Abraham Lincoln was a skilled wrestler. His wrestling prowess was mentioned during several of his political campaigns both by his supporters and an opponent.  

 10. President Arthur’s White House yard sale 

Once he moved into the White House, the 21st president of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, figured that he could get rid of his predecessors’ stuff and make some quick cash for redecorating his new home by holding a yard sale. President Arthur was very fashionable and didn’t want to live with items that he thought were ugly. The sale took place on the White House lawn and among the things that were sold to citizens were a pair of Abraham Lincoln’s pants and a hat that had belonged to John Quincy Adams.  

 

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