Surprising Facts About Every U.S. President

  • Presidential debate, 1960
Presidential debate, 1960
Hulton Archive/ Archive Photos via Getty Images

Between 1789 and today, 45 people have served as President of the United States. During their time in office, as well as throughout their lives before and after the presidency, these leaders saw accomplishments and setbacks that shaped the nation in ways both big and small. Some of these stories have gone down in history, while others — such as George Washington’s time as a whiskey distiller, or Franklin D. Roosevelt’s pioneering foray into television — are less well known. Here are some surprising and fascinating facts about every U.S. President in history.

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George Washington Distilled Whiskey After His Presidency

In 1797, mere months after leaving office, George Washington opened a whiskey distillery on his vast Mount Vernon estate. The venture proved to be wildly successful, as the distillery produced nearly 10,000 gallons of the liquor in 1799 — far more than the average of 650 gallons produced by other Virginia-based distilleries at the time.

John Adams Was the First President to Live in the White House

When John Adams’ predecessor, George Washington, took office, the White House was just an idea. Irish American architect James Hoban was tapped to design the building, which was finally completed in 1800 during the Adams administration, allowing America’s second President to become the first White House resident.

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