Six bits of trivia about the six presidents from New York State

new york presidents

Van Buren, Fillmore, Arthur, Cleveland, TR, FDR

Six US presidents hailed from the Empire State.

Here are six things about them that you probably didn't learn in school...

Martin Van Buren

The 8th president was from Kinderhook and you can visit his home there. On the tour of Lindenwald, you'll see where MVB politicked, ate, slept -- and pooped, which was a matter of great chatter because he did it inside. Yes, he apparently introduced the "radical concept" of the indoor toilet to the surrounding area. And this wasn't just any toilet -- the bowl is Wedgewood ceramic.

Millard Fillmore

Speaking of bathrooms, the nation's 13th president was the subject of a famous bathtub hoax perpetrated by H.L. Mencken. In 1917 Mencken wrote a piece commemorating the "neglected anniversary" of the bathtub's introduction to the United States in 1842 in the "squalid frontier town" of Cincinnati -- and Fillmore's subsequent, and controversial, first installation of the then supposedly scandalous bathroom fixture in the White House in 1851 (neither are true).

The story was so great that it's often been passed off as true -- even by Harry Truman, who apparently actually thought it was true and told the story, in public, multiple times.

Chester A. Arthur

The 21st president (and graduate of Union College) was known for being "a man of fashion in his garb and associates." His sense of style extended to interiors, as well. He insisted that the White House be redecorated before he would move in -- replacing 24 wagon loads of old furniture with "the finest contemporary furniture, fabrics, rugs, and wallpapers promoting the American Victorian Aesthetic Movement." Arthur hired famed designer Louis Tiffany to head up much of the decorating.

Arthur is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery.

Grover Cleveland

One of the offices Cleveland held before becoming the 22nd and 24th president was sheriff of Erie County (he was also mayor of Buffalo and governor of the state). And in that role he personally hanged two men, earning him the nickname "Buffalo's Hangman."

Teddy Roosevelt

The 26th president was an animal guy. And his family kept a large menagerie of pets, including a bear cub and a badger named Josiah, "whose temper was short but whose nature was fundamentally friendly."

Franklin Roosevelt

As a boy, the 32nd president was introduced to then current president Grover Cleveland, who reportedly put his hand upon FDR's head and said: "I'm making a strange wish for you, little man, a wish I suppose no else would make. I wish for you that you may never be President of the United States."

Of course, FDR was elected to the presidency four times.
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Earlier on AOA: Why Abraham Lincoln arrived in Albany with "huge whiskers"

Comments

I suddenly feel very connected to Teddy Roosevelt (his pet badger, anyway).

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