Travel Stories

A travel blog for a long-term expat, backpacker, traveler, ESL teacher, and photographer. 

Ode to American Presidents

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I spent last week in Rapid City, South Dakota. This town is about 20 miles away from Mount Rushmore and is full of American pride in that it has a statue of every US president up to George W. Bush Jr. I decided it was necessary to take a photo with every statue. Below is the most American I'll probably ever be. I've decided to give a fun fact about each president too to make this a little bit more exciting, lol. Too lazy to reword the fun facts so I'll just link the source.

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George Washington

"George Washington was an ultra-successful liquor distributor in the new country. He made rye whiskey, apple brandy and peach brandy in his Mount Vernon

distillery." 

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John Adams

"John Adams named his dog

'Satan.'"

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Thomas Jefferson

"Thomas Jefferson and John Adams once traveled to Stratford-upon-Avon to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace. While there, they took a knife to one of Shakespeare’s chairs so they could take home some wood chips as

souvenirs."

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James Madison

"James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were once arrested together for taking a carriage ride in the countryside of Vermont on a Sunday, which violated the laws of that

state

." Oh, and he also was the shortest US president, 5'4".

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John Quincy Adams

"During his presidency, John Quincy Adams enjoyed skinny-dipping in the Potomac River in the early

mornings.

"

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Andrew Jackson

"In 1806, Andrew 

Jackson shot Charles Dickinson,

 who had accused him of cheating on a horse race bet and then insulted his wife, Rachel." (and killed him).

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Martin Van Buren

"Van Buren's nickname was "Old Kinderhook" because he was raised in Kinderhook, N.Y. A popular theory states that the term "O.K." is derived from the O.K. clubs that sprung up to support his

campaign.

"

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William Henry Harrison

"William Henry Harrison holds the record for the longest inauguration speech in history at 8,578 words long and one hour and 40 minutes. Unfortunately, he gave the speech during bad weather and a month later, he was dead from pneumonia, making his the shortest presidency on

record."

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John Tyler

"John Tyler had more children than any other president. He had eight by his first wife and seven by his second. He was 70 when his last child, Pearl, was born. He was also the first president to get married in office, though his eight children form his first wife did not approve of the wedding and did not

attend."

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James K. Polk

"Six presidents were named James: Madison, Monroe,

Polk

, Buchanan, Garfield, and Carter."

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Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor was a war hero of the Mexican-American War. On July 4th, 1850, he ate contaminated cherries with a glass of milk that caused cholera five days

later

.

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Millard Fillmore

"Fillmore's first wife, Abigail Powers, was his teacher while he was a 19-year-old student at the New Hope Academy in

New York.

"

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Franklin Pierce

"During his presidency, Pierce was arrested for running over a woman with his horse. Charges were later dropped due to a lack of

evidence.

"

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James Buchanan

"President James Buchanan quietly but consistently bought slaves in Washington, D.C., and then set them free in Pennsylvania." Oh and most historians think he was

gay!

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Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender and he is in the American Wrestling Hall of Fame for winning nearly

300 matches. 

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Andrew Johnson

"Andrew Johnson was slurring-level drunk during his inauguration, which he claims was part of an effort to self-medicate for typhoid fever. Eventually he had to abandon his swearing-in of new senators because he was too

intoxicated."

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Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant smoked at least 20 cigars a day and died of throat

cancer

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Rutherford Hayes

"Hayes was the only president to be wounded in the Civil War — not once, but four times. Four horses were shot down from beneath

him.

"

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James Garfield

"Not only was Garfield ambidextrous — he could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other 

at the same

time

."

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Chester Arthur

Chester Arthur owned 80 pairs of

pants.

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Benjamin Harrison

"Benjamin Harrison was the first president to have electricity in the White House. However, he was so scared of getting electrocuted that he would never touch the light switches 

himself."

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Grover Cleveland

"Grover Cleveland date-raped a woman and got her

pregnant."

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William McKinley

"William McKinley almost always wore a red carnation on his lapel as a good luck charm. While greeting a line of people in 1901, he gave the flower to a little girl. Seconds later, he was shot by an assassin, and died eight days

later."

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Theodore Roosevelt

"Teddy Roosevelt had five guinea pigs named Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans, Admiral Dewey, and Father

O’Grady."

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William H. Taft

"William Taft — also known as "Big Bill" — was the largest president in American history. He once got himself wedged into the White House bathtub and had to call his advisers for help getting

out.

"

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Woodrow Wilson

"Woodrow Wilson was the first to show a motion picture in the White House: 

The Birth of a Nation, 

which has become the most banned film in American

history.

"

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Warren G. Harding

"Warren G. Harding was obsessed with poker and once bet an entire set of priceless White House China and lost

it."

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Calvin Coolidge

"Calvin Coolidge liked to have his head rubbed with petroleum jelly while eating his breakfast in

bed.

"

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"Herbert Hoover's son had two pet alligators, which were occasionally permitted to run loose throughout the White 

House.

"

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Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Franklin Roosevelt’s mom clothed him in dresses until he was

five."

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Harry Truman

"Some historians claim Harry Truman was inducted into the KKK, even though he was 'never

active.'"

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Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Eisenhower played a big role in popularizing golf. He installed a putting green at the White House and played more than 800 rounds while in office — exceeding the record of any other president. He holds a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame in the Lifetime Achievement

Category.

"

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John F. Kennedy

"JFK was a huge James Bond fan. He first met the author of the series, Ian Fleming, at a dinner party in 1960. They allegedly bounced around ideas about how to get rid of Fidel

Castro. 

"

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Lyndon B. Johnson

"Lyndon B. Johnson called his penis “Jumbo” (allegedly for good reason), and would whip it out at random times. During a Cabinet meeting, when asked why the U.S. went into Vietnam, Johnson reportedly whipped it out and bellowed, '

This is why!

'"

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Richard Nixon

"In China, the most well-known Western names are Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley and Richard

Nixon."

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Gerald Ford

Please note that he is holding his pipe. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm just smoking the pipe guys!

"Gerald Ford worked as a model during college."

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Jimmy Carter

"Jimmy Carter is the first known president to go on record as seeing a

UFO."

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Ronald Reagan

"In 1940, the University of California bestowed Reagan with the Most Nearly Perfect Male Figure Award. The prize was the opportunity to pose nearly nude for an art class learning to sculpt the human

body

."

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George H. W. Bush

"George H. W. Bush vomited on Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa at a banquet in

1992."

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Bill Clinton

"Clinton's face is so symmetrical — an important component of human attractiveness — that he ranked in facial symmetry alongside male models."

George W. Bush Jr.

"During his senior year of high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., Bush was captain of the cheerleading team."

 

Coming soon, Obama. He doesn't have a statue yet... Lol.