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Harrison Who?

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Hey, You the People!

Today is President’s Day in which we take a day to recognize the 45 men who have led this country for the last 243 years. In recognition of this holiday, I've written about how the day came to be in a previous post in which you can learn a bunch about our very first president, Mr. George Washington. Today I thought we could cover a few random facts about one of our nation’s plethora of presidents.

How to pick which president to look into? I thought I’d go with the president people know least. He’s been noted as the most forgotten president by a New York magazine from 2012: President Benjamin Harrison, the nation’s 23rd president who held office from 1889 to 1893.

The Last Whiskers
Why President Harrison is so forgotten, I’m not sure. There are many notable things about him—one of them being the hair. Joining the ranks of presidents Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, and Garfield, President Harrison wore a full beard throughout his presidency. And it was Harrison who was the last president to wear his whiskers. There have been no bearded presidents since him.

Old Whiskers
No, I’m not still talking about facial hair. We’re moving onto pets. There have been many presidential pets. It’s no surprise that there have been many dogs who have lived in the White House. And lots of the earlier presidents had horses. President Harrison had the less common pet billy goat, Old Whiskers, who lived with him at the White House.

Scared of the Light…switch

Harrison was the president living at the White House when the building was first installed with electricity. The installation had Harrison a bit uneasy about being surrounded by electricity in the walls. In fact, he trusted this new technology of electricity so little that he refused to flip the light switches. He was afraid it would electrocute him. But, despite entering the Age of Electricity kicking and screaming, Harrison was also the first president to have his voice recorded.

So, though history tends to hop right past this historical figure, President Harrison was actually president during a pretty interesting time in our past and the history of the White House! I hope you all have a newfound respect (or a first-time discovered respect) for our 23rd president of the United States. And, as always, thanks for reading! Happy Presidents’ Day, Everybody.


- John



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