12 Things You Didn't
Know About Past US Commanders in Chief
Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren, the eighth U.S. president, had an
interesting nickname during his presidency, Noll says. Many referred to Van Buren as
"Old Kinderhook," after his house along the Hudson River in upstate New York.
His supporters would shout "OK," for short, in rallies, according to NPR.
Could you ever imagine a bathtub without running water?
Neither can we, and apparently neither could the nation's 13th president from 1850 to
1853, Millard Fillmore. Fillmore was the first president to have a bathtub with running water.
James Buchanan served as president from 1857 to 1861,
making him the 15th president. He was the first
unmarried president to be elected into office. Grover Cleveland, the nation's 22nd
president, was also elected into office unmarried but, unlike Buchanan, Cleveland married
while holding his position in office, according to WhiteHouseHistory.org.
Rutherford B. Hayes and Wife Lucy Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president, was the first
president to have a phone installed in the White House. And while this fun fact isn't about Hayes, it is about
his wife, Lucy Hayes. The first lady refused to serve alcohol at the White House because
she believed in the temperance movement, thus lending her the nickname, "Lemonade
Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president, was the first
commander in chief to install electricity in the White House, according to WhiteHouseHistory.org. Harrison served four years in office, from 1889
to 1893, and installed electricity in 1891. Another interesting fact: Harrison was the
last president to have a beard, and also the first
president to have a Christmas tree in the White House.
William Howard Taft
William Taft, born in 1857, served as the nation's 27th
president from 1909 to 1913. During his presidency, Taft was the first president to throw
out a pitch during a baseball game. That first pitch was in the 1910 Senator's Opening Day
game against the Philadelphia Athletics.
It is said that Taft is also the one who helped to coin the term
"seventh-inning stretch." Taft got up during the seventh inning of a game to
stretch his legs because he could bear sitting down no more, Professor Noll says. The
crowd got up to honor their president, but when the president returned a few minutes
later, the crowd followed suit, thus giving the name, the "seventh-inning
Today, transatlantic traveling of our president is the
norm. It seems like almost every other week President Obama is in another country. But,
interestingly enough, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president from 1913 to 1921, was the first
president to cross the Atlantic Ocean while in office.
The nation's 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was commonly
known as "Silent Cal" because he enjoyed childish practical jokes such as
buzzing for his bodyguards and then hiding under his desk as they frantically searched for
Ever wonder how the Star-Spangled Banner
became our National Anthem? We have President Herbert Hoover to
thank for that. Hoover, the 31st president, signed a law that made the "Star-Spangled
Banner" our National Anthem based on an 1814 poem by Francis Scott Key, according
Random fact: It is also said that Hoovers son, Allan, had
pet alligators that wandered around the White House, according to CNN.
Ford, our nation's 38th president, was surprisingly domestic. This down-to-earth
president enjoyed cooking his own breakfast, Noll says. The Gerald Ford Foundation website also goes onto say that Ford even
enjoyed making his own muffins. Who's hungry for breakfast?
Carter, our 39th president, was the first president to be born in a hospital. Carter
served in modern years, from 1977 to 1981, thus begging the question, where were the other
presidents born before him?
Ronald Reagan, one of the nation's most likeable
presidents, served as our 40th president from 1981 to 1989. Reagan,
born in 1911, didn't become president until 1981, 70 years later, thus making him the
nations oldest president to have ever served.