Presidential Trivia, Fun Facts and Firsts

Nixon Resigns

President Nixon resigns

Richard Nixon is the only U.S. president to resign.

William Taft was the first of two presidents to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. John F. Kennedy is the other.

An avid golfer, Woodrow Wilson used black golf balls when playing in the snow

Dwight D. Eisenhower played football at West Point and was injured trying to tackle Olympic and NFL star Jim Thorpe.

During Woodrow Wilson’s presidency, a flock of sheep was raised on the White House lawn. The wool was used to raise money for the Red Cross during World War I.

President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886.

Warren Harding was the first president to own a radio.

While president, Warren Harding played golf, poker twice a week, followed baseball and boxing and sneaked off to burlesque shows.

A man of few words, a dinner guest made a bet that she could get Calvin Coolidge to say more than two words. When she told the president of her wager, he replied, “You lose.”

While sheriff of Erie County, New York, Grover Cleveland was also the public executioner and personally hanged two murderers.

Calvin Coolidge averaged nine hours of sleep a night and took afternoon naps of from two to four hours.

Herbert Hoover was the first president born west of the Mississippi River.

During Rutherford B. Hayes’ administration, the first telephone was installed in the White House by Alexander Graham Bell himself.

President-elect James A Garfield campaigned for the American presidency from the front porch of his house.

Herbert Hoover donated his salary to charity.

James K. Polk was the first president to have his inauguration reported by telegraph.

Millard Fillmore and his cabinet helped fight the Library Congress fire of 1851.

Jacqueline Bouvier was an inquiring “camera girl” for the Washington Times-Herald shortly after her graduation from George Washington University in 1951. That year she interviewed Congressman John F. Kennedy and married him two years later.

Gerald Ford is the only president who was employed by the National Park Service. He served as a Yellowstone Park Ranger in 1936.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president whose mother was eligible to vote for him.

Since Grover Cleveland was the sole supporter of his family during the Civil War, he paid a substitute to take his place.

William Henry Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address at 105 minutes. He did not wear an overcoat or hat and afterward developed pneumonia and died in the White House exactly one month after giving his speech, on April 4.

Thomas Jefferson read Greek, Latin, French and English.

Andrew Jackson was the only president to ever kill a man in a duel. Jackson was also wounded and carried the bullet, lodged near his heart, to his grave.

When John Adams and his family moved to Washington to live in the White House, they got lost in the woods north of the city for several hours.

Andrew Johnson had no formal education. His wife taught him reading, writing and math.

Grover Cleveland was the only president to have a child born in the White House – his daughter, Esther.

As a child, Theodore Roosevelt suffered asthma attacks and was too sickly to attend school.

Barack Obama does not like ice cream as a result of working at an ice cream shop as a teenager.

Lyndon Baines Johnson used to go through the White House at night turning lights off that were not needed. He did not want to waste the taxpayers money. At fifteen he ran away from home and traveled to California where he worked as a grape picker and auto mechanic.

President Eisenhower chipping onto the green around 1957

Dwight David Eisenhower liked to play golf so much he had a putting green built on the White House lawn.

Zachary Taylor’s horse grazed on the Whiter House lawn.

George W. Bush was the first managing general partner of a Major League baseball team (Texas Rangers) to become president.

Warren G. Harding once lost all the White House china gambling, on one hand of cards.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother forced him to wear a dress until he was five years old.

Abraham Lincoln was the first president to die by assassination. On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

George H.W. Bush was the captain of the baseball team at Yale University.

While president, Ulysses S. Grant was arrested for driving his horse too fast and was fined $ 20.

Franklin Pierce installed the first central heating system in the White House.

Herbert Hoover often spoke Chinese to his wife to keep their stories private.

During their first three years in the White House, the Hoovers dined alone only three times, each time on their wedding anniversary.

Harry S. Truman read every book in his hometown library

Gerald Ford Held his daughter’s High School prom in the White House

George H.W. Bush survived four planes crashes during World War II

Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Claudia “Lady Bird” Alta Taylor, were married with a $ 2.50 wedding ring bought at Sears Roebuck.

Richard Nixon was the first president to visit all 50 states and the first president to visit China.

Ulysses S. Grant said he knew only two songs. “One was Yankee Doodle and the other wasn’t.”

Ulysses S. Grant was the victorious Union commander of the Civil War. He received General Lee’s sword at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

Calvin Coolidge was the only president sworn into office by his father, a justice of the peace and notary public.

Bill Clinton was the first U.S. Democratic president to win reelection since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

George W. Bush was the first son of a president to take the office since John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams.

Barack Obama was the first African American to be elected president.

John F. Kennedy was the youngest American elected president and the youngest to die in office.

Thomas Jefferson was an avid inventor who is credited with inventing several items including the coat hanger, hideaway bed, and dumbwaiter.

Warren Harding played poker at least twice a week and once put an entire set of White House china up to stake his hand — he lost the hand and the china.

On June 12, 2018, George H.W. Bush made history becoming the first former president to reach the age of 94. Bush died on November 30, 2018.

39th President Jimmy Carter

In 2012, James Earl Carter Jr. (Jimmy) surpassed Herbert Hoover as the longest retired president in U.S. history. In 2017 he became the first president to live to see the 40th anniversary of his inauguration.

On March 22, 2019, Jimmy Carter surpassed George H.W. Bush as the longest-lived president in U.S. history at 94 and 172 days old.  The 39th President was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015, which is apparently no match for the former world leader.


Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated October 2019

Also See:

Presidents of the United States of America

American History

Presidents of the United States Photo Gallery

You might also like this website:  Ranking The Health of U.S. Presidents –  A rank all of the U.S. presidents based on 6 factors and 58 health conditions. Find out who’s at the top and the bottom of the list. (You might be surprised with where some of them landed.)  Includes interesting trivia about Presidents and their habits and more.


5 thoughts on “Presidential Trivia, Fun Facts and Firsts”

  1. One correction….Robert Lincoln was not in attendance at Ford’s Theater to witness his father’s assassination.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *