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What's Up Magazine

Presidential Oddities

Feb 15, 2012 09:00PM ● By Anonymous

  • James Polk was the first U.S. president to have his photograph taken.
  • During a low point in his acting career (circa 1954), Ronald Reagan took a standup gig in Las Vegas. It only lasted for a few weeks.
  • Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to ride in a car while in office, and his fifth cousin, FDR, was the first to ride in an airplane.
  • Thomas Jefferson had two pet bears, sent to him by Lewis and Clark during their expedition of the West. He kept them in a cage on the White House lawn, and walked them from time to time. 
  • Abraham Lincoln was also a licensed bartender. He was a co-owner of a saloon in Springfield, IL called Berry and Lincoln.
  • Warren Harding once bet the White House china collection in a poker game. He lost it all in one hand.
  • Calvin Coolidge had a mechanical horse in the White House. He used it to practice his horseback riding skills.  Coolidge also enjoyed having Vaseline rubbed on his head while eating breakfast in bed.
  • George Washington holds the record for shortest inauguration speech at less than two minutes. William Henry Harrison holds the longest at 1 hour and 40 minutes. A month after his inauguration, Harrison died from pneumonia contracted during his speech, making his the shortest term of any president.
  • During a modeling stint in college, Gerald Ford posed on the April 1942 cover of Cosmopolitan.
  • Ulysses S. Grant was given a $20 speeding ticket for riding his horse too quickly down a street in D.C. 
  • In other horse-related law breaking news, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were once arrested together for taking an illegal carriage ride through the Vermont countryside on a Sunday.
  • Standing at 6'4", Abraham Lincoln was our tallest president. At 5'4", James Madison was the shortest.
  • Every member of Teddy Roosevelt's family owned a pair of stilts.
  • John Quincy Adams often took early morning skinny dips in the Potomac.
  • Jimmy Carter was a commander of both a nuclear submarine and a peanut farm.

For even more  presidential ridiculousness, check out this Huffington Post slideshow and this list of 99 interesting facts about the U.S. presidents at