Presidents’ Day turns our thoughts towards patriotism – and where it intersects with fireplaces, of course.
This annual holiday is celebrated on the third Monday in February and originally began in 1885 to honor George Washington (his birthday was February 22), but now commemorates all American presidents.
At Old World Stoneworks, we’re celebrating Presidents’ Day by sharing fun fireplace facts having to do with our country’s leaders:
- The White House contains 28 fireplaces.
- President James Monroe’s private house, Oak Hill, featured two gorgeous marble mantels. They were sent from Europe by the Marquis de Lafayette.
- President Theodore Roosevelt, renowned outdoorsman, placed a moose head over the State Dining Room’s fireplace in the White House. He also ordered the mantel carvings altered to depict the heads of North American bison rather than lions.
- At the close of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had earlier President John Adams’ words carved on the State Dining room’s fireplace, taken from an 1800 letter to Adams’ wife:
“I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.”
- Richard Nixon loved to work beside a blazing fire in the Telegraph Room on the second floor of the White House. In summer he sometimes had a fire burning and the A/C on simultaneously. Wasteful, yes, but a true champion of fireplaces.
- Not surprisingly, the White House is extremely well equipped with smoke detectors. Any hint of smoke immediately alerts the Secret Service and at least five fire engines. Whenever a helicopter lands or takes off from the White House, a fire unit is on standby. However, all firefighters must be checked out by the Secret Service before they can come on premises.
- Several White House occupants – including Eleanor Roosevelt, Ladybird Johnson and Susan Ford (daughter of Gerald) – reported sensing President Abraham Lincoln’s ghost standing near the Lincoln Bedroom fireplace.
President Ronald Reagan’s first meeting with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev took place in Geneva, Switzerland in 1985. The two men and their interpreters sat down together in front of a blazing fireplace to begin a relationship that changed the world.
- By the time Jimmy Carter took office, TV had eclipsed radio. He gave his famous 1977 fireside chat beside a fireplace. His casual beige cardigan added to the hominess.
- In 2013, President Barack Obama had his first fireside Google hangout session in front of the fireplace in the Roosevelt Room.
Fireplaces are so special they cross political lines. They are equally loved by Democrats and Republicans, 18th and 21st century presidents.
If you’re feeling inspired to celebrate Presidents’ Day with a distinctive new look for your fireplace, give us a call today!