The Ultimate Rental House Fixer-Upper

As President Harry Truman's daughter, Margaret, played the piano one day, she was startled as one leg of the piano suddenly dropped through the floor of the White House residential level. Engineers were called in to see what was going on, and the report was nothing short of alarming. The 150-year-old mansion was in desperate... Continue Reading →

Being President Doesn’t Make You Master of the House

If there was ever a man who was unchanged by the power of the Presidency, it was Gerald Ford. Thrust unexpectedly into the Oval Office upon the resignation of Richard Nixon, Ford always seemed to be just a regular guy. Nothing illustrated this better than his relationship with his dog. Shortly after moving into the... Continue Reading →

The Day President Lincoln Became a Firefighter

The job of President of the United States can often be described as one of constantly putting out fires. Of course, we expect that to be a figurative description. For one President, however, that was literally the truth. On February 10, 1864 Sergeant Smith Stimmel was standing guard for President Abraham Lincoln at the White... Continue Reading →

Easy Phone Number to Remember

1877 brought a new President to the White House and a new presidential perk: the Executive Mansion's first telephone. President Rutherford B. Hayes had the phone installed in the White House telegraph room. The first White House phone number was "1." Alexander Graham Bell had just invented the telephone a year earlier, so it should not... Continue Reading →

Welcome to the White House. Don’t Drink the Water

Three Presidents who died in the years between 1840 and 1850 have inspired the well-known tales regarding the cause of their deaths. We all know that William Henry Harrison's one-hour-and-forty-five-minute inaugural address, delivered without a hat or coat during a snowstorm, resulted in the President catching pneumonia and dying just thirty days into his administration.... Continue Reading →

Bare Diplomacy

  Prime Minister Winston Churchill was staying at the White House as a guest of President Franklin Roosevelt. They had been discussing their vision for a new-and-improved League of Nations that would help secure the post-war peace. The President had a sudden inspiration for a name for this organization -- the United Nations. He was excited... Continue Reading →

So Much for the Era of Good Feelings

The eight years of the administration of President James Monroe (1817-1825) are known as "The Era of Good Feelings." Not everyone got the memo, however. Hard feelings existed between President Monroe and his Treasury Secretary, William H. Crawford. Crawford had been appointed as Secretary of the Treasury in 1816 by President James Madison, and he... Continue Reading →

When POTUS Cleans Up After His Pooch

President Gerald Ford was known for being just a regular guy, unchanged by the power of the Presidency. This was never better demonstrated than on the occasion when his Golden Retriever, Liberty, do-dooed on a carpet in the White House. As a servant rushed to take care of it, the President stopped him, saying, "No... Continue Reading →

Ancient Breed — Noble Character

The greyhound is among the oldest breeds of dogs, yet it remains one of the most misunderstood. Consider the following facts about this ancient and noble breed: The greyhound is the second-fastest land animal. Second only to the cheetah, they can reach speeds of 45 mph in about three strides. They are nicknamed "45 mph... Continue Reading →

Once Is an Accident. Twice is a Coincidence. Three Times is a Habit.

Robert Todd Lincoln (1843-1926), the eldest child of president Abraham Lincoln, was a witness to the murders of three presidents. He was at the White House on April 14, 1865 when his father was shot at Ford's Theater. He rushed to the Petersen House where the President was taken to be treated and was there... Continue Reading →

In a Democracy the People Always Get What They Deserve

"As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." H.L. Mencken,... Continue Reading →

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