This photo from the Library of Congress shows the delivery of two turkeys to President Herbert Hoover in 1929. According to White House History, the tradition of sending a Thanksgiving turkey to the President goes back many years. John F. Kennedy was the first President to pardon a turkey. A pardon means showing leniency, in other words, he didn't eat it! Pardoning the turkey eventually became an annual event for every President. You might wonder what happened to all those pardoned turkeys? I found out they have gone to several different places including George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Disney World!
There have been a lot of Presidents, more than 40, so there are a lot of oddball traditions and just plain funny stories about their quirky habits. There are even more stories about their pet projects and special accomplishments. Check out some of these books to find out behind-the-scenes stories that probably won't make it on your social studies test!
The Camping Trip That Changed America is the story of an important outdoor adventure when naturalist John Muir took President Theodore Roosevelt camping. Roosevelt was so ready to get lost in the woods he ordered all of his aids away. The two men hiked and camped alone in the redwoods of Yosemite. Muir talked about the geology and the animals and the things he felt endangered them. President Roosevelt watched and listened. When he returned to Washington, he got to work and established the U.S. Forest Service. Their spokesperson is someone you might know – Smokey the Bear!
Did you know there has been only one Presidents of the United States from Indiana? Benjamin Harrison. He was the 23rd President and served from 1889 to 1893. You can tour his home in Indianapolis. The home's website has a really great photo gallery. In Old Whiskers Escapes you can read about how Benjamin Harrison once sprinted down Pennsylvania Avenue (that's the street in front of the White House) after a goat. Sometimes, even the President can't get everyone to cooperate!
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Unique often equals funny! All the astonishing accomplishments and silly details fit to print about which President sang with his pet parrot, which one took dancing lessons, which one got a speeding ticket on a horse, which one got stuck in a bathtub, and which one ran down Pennsylvania Avenue (the street in front of the White House) chasing after a goat! Hint: the goat story is about the President from Indiana! #indyplkids
Teresa Carreño loved to play the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share her happiness. While still a little girl she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. When she got here, there was fighting here, too--the Civil War, but she still played and she was really good, so good President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House!
The story of how the teddy bear got its name when one of America's most beloved presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, refused to shoot a bear on a hunting trip. A newspaper cartoonist heard the news and created a cartoon about it. A candy shop owner's wife was so inspired by the story that she made a stuffed toy bear, named it "Teddy's Bear" and displayed it in the shop. Everyone wanted one!
The fascinating story of the Borglum family and their hair brained idea to carve the faces of four presidents into the side of mountain, using dynamite no less, that turned that mountain into one of American's iconic tourist stops - Mt. Rushmore.