Last year about this time I wrote a post entitled, Presidential Trivia in honor of “Presidents Day”. But technically, that was wrong. By law, the third Monday of February is officially Washington’s Birthday. At least according to the federal government it is but unofficially, many refer to it as Presidents Day to include Abraham Lincoln.
Washington’s Birthday became official in 1885, when President Chester Arthur signed a bill making it a federal holiday. Lincoln’s birthday, on Feb. 12, never became a federal holiday but many states continued to celebrate it as a legal holiday. Especially those outside the old Confederacy.
In the years to come, the addition of Columbus Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day would be added to the list of federal holidays so many states dropped the official observance of Lincoln’s birthday.
On June 28, 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holidays Act, which moved the official observance of Washington’s birthday from Feb. 22 to the third Monday in February and officially taking effect on January 1, 1971.
Since the third Monday in February can only occur between Feb. 15 and Feb. 21, this places the holiday after Lincoln’s birthday but before Washington’s, giving many good reason to believe in a combined observation of both, therefore referring to this federal holiday as Presidents Day.
ever you choose to refer to this third Monday in February, Washington’s Birthday or Presidents Day, I found a wee bit of trivia for both.
Washington’s Birthday Trivia
- George Washington was born in Virginia on February 11, 1731, according to the then-used Julian calendar. In 1752, however, Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, which placed Washington’s birth on February 22, 1732.
- George Washington was one of the tallest and largest presidents in our countries history at 6’3” and more than 200 lbs with size 13 boots.
- Washington had a history of dental problems. When he was 57 he had all of his teeth pulled out. Many have grown to believe over the years that he wore wooden dentures but that was not the case. In fact, his dentures were made from human or animal teeth and ivory or lead.
- In Philadelphia, Washington delivered the shortest inaugural address of all time. He had only one tooth at the time and his dentures often gave him pain when he wore them. It was only 133 words long and took a mere 90 seconds to deliver
- George Washington made Thanksgiving a holiday in October of 1789. He said it was to be observed on November 26.
- He was the first man in history to be given the title of Lieutenant General.
- Jimmy Carter believed that our country’s first president should also be America’s highest military official. As the commander of the Continental Army, George Washington was a four-star general but was promoted to a six-star “General of the Armies of Congress” by Carter’s order.
- Some of Washington’s favorite foods were string beans with mushrooms, cream of peanut soup, and mashed sweet potatoes with coconut.
(More) Presidential Trivia
- James Madison was the first president to wear trousers, as opposed to knee length “breeches.” At 5 feet 4 inches, he was also the shortest president.
- Weather permitting, John Quincy Adams swam nude in the Potomac River every day.
- Benjamin Franklin liked to take “air baths,” where he’d sit around naked in a cold room for an hour or so while he wrote.
- Before he was president, Andrew Jackson was wounded in a duel at the age of 39. The bullet remained lodged in his heart until the day he died.
- Zachary Taylor let his old Army horse, Whitey, graze on the White House lawn. Visitors took horse hairs as souvenirs.
- James Buchanan was nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other. As a result he always cocked his head to the left.
- While he was president, Ulysses S. Grant was arrested for riding his horse too fast and fined $20. He smoked 20 cigars a day and died of throat cancer.
- Theodore Roosevelt had a photographic memory. He could read a page in the time it took anyone else to read a sentence.
- James A. Garfield could write with both hands. To entertain people he would write in Greek with one hand and Latin with the other.
- Benjamin Harrison was terrified of electric lights. He would ask White House staff to turn them on and off for him.
- Rutherford B. Hayes was the first U.S. president to use a phone at the White House. Alexander Graham Bell personally showed him how to use it and his phone number was 1.
- Calvin Coolidge liked having his head massaged with Vaseline during breakfast in bed. He also rode his own mechanical bull and played “ding-dong ditch’em”—he would ring the White House doorbell and then run and hide.
- Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender. He was co-owner of Berry and Lincoln, a saloon in Springfield, IL.
- Herbert Clark Hoover ordered his White House servants to hide from him whenever he passed by. If they didn’t, they ran the risk of being fired.
Note: Starting next week The Homestead will kick off something called Magid Monday. We will be showcasing certain products from the Magid Glove Company that we’ve used and abused for the express purpose of an honest review.