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Fun Presidential Facts on Presidents' Day

Ten trivial facts with a quirky bent.

 

Today is Presidents' Day, a holiday first established in 1885 and known then as Washington's Birthday, in honor of America's first president, George Washington.

According to the web site history.com, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which created additional three-day weekends for workers. 

Here are ten trivial and goofy facts about US presidents.

We found these on AOL's Huffington Post; for a whole book of presidential trivia try the Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia

10 Quirky Facts

1. President Obama collects "Spiderman" and "Conan The Barbarian" comic books.

2. President Johnson was famous among White House staffers for having no shame about asking people to follow him into the bathroom to continue conversations as he relieved himself.

3. Supposedly, President Van Buren popularized one of the most commonly used phrases to date: "OK", or "Okay". Van Buren was from Kinderhook, NY which was also called "Old Kinderhook". His support groups came to be known as "O.K. Clubs" and the term OK came to mean "all right".

4. When Abe Lincoln moved to New Salem, Illinois in 1831, he met a rowdy bunch called The Clarence Grove Boys. Their leader, Jack Armstrong challenged Lincoln to a wrestling match outside of Denton Offutt's store, where Lincoln was a clerk, and townspeople gathered to watch and wager on it. Lincoln won the match and Jack's respect, and the two became best friends.

5. When Lewis and Clark were exploring the West, two young bear cubs were sent East to President Jefferson. He kept the bears in a cage on the White House lawn and occasionally went on walks with them. Other strange presidential pets include: Alligator (John Quincy Adams), Elephant (James Buchanan), and Zebra (Teddy Roosevelt).

6. Ulysses S. Grant was given a $20 speeding ticket for riding his horse too fast down a Washington street. 

7. Warren Harding bet the White House china collection in a poker game, losing it all in one hand.

8. While in the Navy, Richard Nixon noticed that his friends were winning money in poker games. Always the opportunist, Nixon had the best poker player in his unit teach him how to play the game. Within only a few months, Nixon had won around $6,000 in poker games, which he used to fund his first congressional campaign.

9. John Quincy Adams was known for his early morning dips in D.C.'s main waterway, the Potomac River, always in the nude. 

10. In 1954, Ronald Reagan's acting career was going so badly that he took a gig as a Las Vegas stand-up comic for a few weeks.

Do you have any fun presidential facts to share?

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