THIS WEEKEND marks the second inaugural of our 40th president, the latest in a line of temporary Washingtonians who left behind a little of their personalities. Come tour the town with us as we hit the trail of the First Forty (really only 39 men -- historians count Grover Cleveland twice) and learn something about what these guys were really like.
1. HAVE SOME MADEIRA, BY GEORGE: George Washington, a local lad, kept a townhouse in Alexandria at 508 Cameron Street and often stopped at Gadsby's Tavern for a glass of madeira to fortify himself for the trip to Mount Vernon. Why madeira? Well, the Brits decreed that all sherry and port and other beverages of European origin must be shipped directly to the mother country. The isle of Madeira, which produced the beverage of the same name, was considered part of Africa, so direct shipment of its products to the American colonies was allowed. Gadsby's, at 134 North Royal Street, still serves madeira -- but now that we've won the war you can order port and sherry, too.
2. DEAD ON THE FOURTH OF JULY: John Adams, an aristocratic New Englander, never attained the popularity of his predecessor or his successor. His hauteur and his stature earned him the nickname "His Rotundity." But he couldn't have been as dour as all that, because he used to skinny dip in Tiber Creek, behind the Ellipse, and tipple at the City Tavern, now a private club at 3206 M Street NW. There's no memorial in town to the second president, although the Library of Congress annex, one of Washington's great deco buildings, bears his name. Ironically, one of the rare sculptures of Adams adorns a rarely-looked-at pediment on the memorial honoring his archrival, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson is at the center of the scene, which depicts the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and sits above the north portico facing the Tidal Basin. Adams sits to his left -- contrary to his ideological leanings. Their rivalry lasted all their lives. When Adams died, on July 4, 1826, his last words were: "Thomas Jefferson survives!" He died without the satisfaction of knowing that his old adversary had actually died a few hours earlier.
3. TIME REALLY FLIES WHEN YOU'RE PAINTING A PRESIDENT: In 1805, President Jefferson paid artist Gilbert Stuart $100 and began going to the artist's downtown studio to sit for a portrait. A few months later, Stuart moved to Boston, taking the unfinished portrait with him. The next year the diplomatic but impatient Jefferson sent Stuart a letter and a gold watch, engraved "To Gilbert Stuart, Esq. with compliments of Thomas Jefferson 1806." The letter was never answered, the watch never acknowledged, but the portrait was finally delivered, to Monticello, in 1821. The portrait and the wtch are now in the National Portrait Gallery's Hall of Presidents.
4. WHAT HAS EIGHT SIDES AND DIDN'T GET BURNED BY THE BRITISH? The Octagon House, at 18th Street and New York Avenue. After the British burned the White House, the Tayloe family offered this home to the homeless president, James Madison, and his wife, Dolly. Madison conducted affairs of state there, too, signing the treaty ending the War of 1812 in the Octagon House drawing room, now known as the Treaty Room.
5. PARK YOUR HORSE OUTSIDE, PLEASE: The Timothy Caldwell House, now the Arts Club of Washington, at 2017 I Street NW, is famed for its beautiful door, with an elliptical fanlight, keystone arch and small side windows. Through that door one day in 1814 rode James Monroe, then secretary of state, fleeing from the marauding British. The Monroes took up residence there and remained through the first six months of his presidency, until the White House was repaired. The ground floor of the house, used for exhibitions of artwork, is open weekends 1 to 5 to anyone not on horseback.
6. O MARKS THE SPOT: John Quincy Adams, the only president who was the son of a president, was elected to the House of Representatives after leaving the presidency. In those days, the House of Representatives met in what is now Statuary Hall in the Capitol; the venerable member from Massachusetts was stricken with a stroke there during a roll call in 1848. The spot where he fell is marked with a circular brass plate. He was carried to the Speakers Room, where he died two days later.
7. A JACKSON CAMEO: Andrew Jackson didn't want any inaugural festivities because his wife, Rachel, had died only a few days before the inauguration. The unpretentious war hero walked from his lodgings to the Capitol to be sworn in by Chief Justice John Marshall. At the Capitol he was mobbed by admirers who followed him to the White House, where everyone was invited in for an impromptu reception. The crowds broke furniture and smashed china until they were lured outside by a smart servant who placed bowls of punch on the lawn. The equestrian statue of Jackson, across the street from the White House, seems ready to charge the rabble. A quieter image of Old Hickory adorns a cameo brooch, given to him by Rachel and now in the First Ladies Hall of the Smithsonian's Museum of American History.
8. THE MOVING MAGICIAN: Known as "The Little Magician," the diminutive Martin Van Buren was Jackson's hand- picked successor. Before he dug into the White House, Van Buren lived in several posh digs around town, including Decatur House on Lafayette Square and the John Marshall House at 1801 F Street NW. While president, he summered at Woodley, now part of the Maret School at 3000 Cathedral Avenue NW.
9. THE TIPPECANOE THAT SANK FAST: William Henry Harrison, hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe against the Indians, was really a Virginia aristocrat but campaigned as a sle backwoods Indian fighter. His campaign headquarters was a log cabin -- a replica of which is in the "We the People" exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. True to his macho image, Harrison went coatless and hatless at his inauguration, caught pneumonia and died exactly a month later. He accomplished unsurprisingly little as president but set two records: He was the first president to die in office and he served the shortest term.
10. AND TYLER, TOO: Sometimes called "His Accidency," John Tyler was the first president to gain the office because of the death of his predecessor. His swearing-in took place not at the Capitol but just down the hill in the parlor of the Indian Queen Hotel in the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW. There's nothing but a big hole there now, but a hotel will rise there again, as part of the Pennsylvania Avenue Triangle project now under construction. There are, however, no plans to name the hotel after him.
11. THE FAN OF THE DARK HORSE: Known as the first "dark horse" president, James K. Polk beat out such popular politicians as Martin Van Buren and Henry Clay to become our 11th president. At his inaugural ball, he presented gifts of fans bearing the portraits of the first 11 presidents. In case you weren't there, you can see the fan in the First Ladies Hall at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History.
12. THE VIEW FROM BUENA VISTA: Gen. Zachary Taylor routed the Mexicans at the Battle of Buena Vista and wanted to push on to Mexico City, but President Polk, probably for political reasons, let Gen. Winfield Scott capture the halls of Montezuma. As a consolation prize, Congress gave "Old Rough and Ready" a bronze medal with his portrait on it, which is now in the National Portrait Gallery. Elected president the year after his victory at Buena Vista, Taylor fell ill after attending ceremonies at the Washington Monument on a sweltering Fourth of July in 1850. He died five days later.
13. FROM ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE TO WHITE HOUSE: Millard Fillmore, the vice president who became president when Taylor died, was born in a log cabin in the wilds of upstate New York and attended a one-room school. There he fell in love with his red-haired teacher, Abigail Powers, who later became Mrs. Fillmore. A schoolmarm to the core, Mrs. Fillmore set up the first library in the White House. Some of Fillmore's books are in the First Ladies Hall at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History.
14. WHAT WAS FRANKLIN PIERCE REALLY LIKE? You probably wouldn't find out from the campaign biography of our 14th president and his running mate, "The Lives of Gen. Franklin Pierce and William R. King," in the "We the People" exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. The New Hampshire politician, nominated by the Democrats on the 49th ballot, remained a dark horse even when he served as president. He waffled on the slavery question, trying to please everyone but pleasing no one, and retired to New Hampshire after one term.
15. THE BACHELOR UNCLE: James Buchanan, the only lifelong bachelor to win the presidency, had his niece, Harriet Lane, act as his official hostess. Harriet, who married well, left her art collection to the Smithsonian and left a bequest to erect a memorial to her uncle. Congress finally got around to building it in 1930 and placed the bronze likeness of Buchanan in the southeast corner of Meridian Hill Park. The engraved praise of the last president to serve before the Civil War almost makes up for the delay: The inscription reads: "This incorruptible statesman whose walk was upon the mountain ranges of the law."
16. THE TASTE OF VICTORY: Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural took place on the eve of the Civil War; by his second the North could almost taste victory. In March, 1865, blacks marched in the inaugural parade for the first time in history. The inaugural ball -- held in the Old Patent Office which had served as a Civil War hospital and now houses the National Portrait Gallery -- was a gala event. The menu included 65 dishes, such as terrapin stew, "Filet de Beef," "Leg of Veal Fricandeau," grouse, pheasant, quail, "Pat,e of Duck en gel,ee," lobster salad, "Ornamental Pyramids: Nougate, Orange, Caramel with fancy cream candy," macaroons, almond sponge, "Tart a la Nelson," "Tare a L'Orleans," and "Bombe a la Vanilla."
17. STONE HANDS: One of the duties of presidents is to cut ribbons and lay cornerstones, and Andrew Johnson, despite efforts to oust him, performed such functions dutifully. On May 30, 1868, Johnson attended the laying of the cornerstone of the Masonic Temple at Ninth and F Streets NW and marched in a procession with the Masons. The building, which later became the Julius Lansburgh Furniture Company, still stands.
18. SILVER THREADS AMONG THE BROWN: When he served under Gen. Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War, Ulysses S Grant wrote regular letters home to his wife, Julia. In one he enclosed a lock of his hair, which Mrs. Grant put in a gold locket. At his death in 1885 -- eight years after leaving the White House -- she cut another lock of hair and put it in the same locket. The locket, hair and all, is in the First Ladies Hall at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History.
19. THE HEYDAY OF HAYES: Rutherford B. Hayes won the electoral vote but not the popular vote, which may or may not have had something to do with the fact that his wife, the first college graduate to become First Lady, decided to banish wine and liquor from the White House. Whatever pall that produced in White House entertaining was almost made up for by the fact that somebody in the family had terrific taste in china. The china purchased for the White House by Hayes -- now in the First Ladies Hall in the Smithsonian's Museum of American History -- is decorated with scenes from nature. Jumping trout adorn the fish plates; big horn sheep leap across the dinner plates; a duck swims across the Chesapeake Bay game platter, and the ice cream plates are raspberry pink with gilt snowshoes. The china was made in France by Haviland, but designed in a studio on the beach in Asbury Park, New Jersey, by American artist Theodore R. David. One of the plates pictures the artist's studio.
20. LOOKING TOWARD DOOM: James A.Garfield, the last president to be born in a log cabin, is one of our more obscure presidents, but his memorial occupies prime space, at the foot of Capitol Hill, near the Botanic Garden. Garfield's statue looks toward the Mall, site of the railroad station where, after only four months in office, he was gunned down by a lawyer named Charles J. Guiteau who had tried in vain to get an appointment to a consular post. The railroad station was demolished some years ago. More recently demolished: the shop where Guiteau bought his gun. It was in the building known as the Rhodes Tavern.
21. THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE: Before he became our 21st president, Chester A. Arthur performed the duties of the vice president, including swearing in new senators. Despite some statuary evidence to the contrary, one senator he didn't swear in was John A. Logan, the man who sits on a horse in the middle of Logan Circle, 13th and Vermont NW. The panel on the east side of Logan's pedestal depicts General Logan, a Civil War hero, being sworn into office in the Senate in 1879 by Vice President Arthur. Soon after the statue was dedicated in 1901, however, a local newspaper pointed out that Arthur hadn't become vice president until 1881. Confronted with that fact, Mrs. Logan said she wanted people prominent during her husband's lifetime to be represented in the panels.
22. THE FIRST-TERM WEDDING AND THE SECOND-TERM DOLL HOUSE: A bachelor when he was elected in 1884, Grover Cleveland became the first -- and only -- president to be married in the White House. An engraved announcement of his wedding to Miss Frances Folsom on June 2, 1886, plus a satin box given to guests who wanted to take pieces of the wedding cake home, is in the First Ladies Hall at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. By Cleveland's second term, which began in 1893, the marriage had born fruit. The First Ladies Hall also holds a doll house, made for the Cleveland children by the White House gardener.
23. BURL-Y BENJAMIN: The only grandson of a president to be elected president, Benjamin Harrison cultivated a backwoods image like that of his grandfather -- old Tippecanoe. In the National Portrait Gallery, there's a folk-art statue of Harrison, carved out of a wood burl by an anonymous artist in 1888.
24. FROM THE FRONT PORCH TO THE WHITE HOUSE: Despite his heavy backing by the money moguls, William McKinley stuck around the house, campaigning from his front porch in Canton, Ohio. A replica of the porch is in the "We the People" exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. Other McKinley campaign memorabilia in the same exhibit include a doll with a label that reads, "My papa will vote for McKinley. Gold Standard, Protection, Reciprocity and Good Times."
25. VIM AND VIGOR -- WITHOUT GLOVES: The youngest president in U.S. history, Theodore Roosevelt preached and practiced the outdoor life and often cajoled foreign ambassadors into romping in Rock Creek Park with him. The French minister, Jusserand, sent an account of one such outing to the Quai D'Orsay: "At last we came to the bank of a stream, rather too wide and deep to be forded . . . But judge of my horror when I saw the president unbutton his clothes and heard him say, 'We had better strip, so as not to wet our things in the creek.' Then I, too, for the honor of France removed my apparel, everything except my lavender kid gloves . . . 'With your permission, Mr. President, I will keep these on; otherwise it would be embarrassing if we should meet ladies.' " Roosevelt also canoed, fully clothed, around Analostan Island in the Potomac, which was later purchased as a wildlife sanctuary and renamed Roosevelt Island to honor the conservationist president. On the island is a statue of TR with some monoliths inscribed with his thoughts on nature and life in general. Even after leaving the presidency in 1909, Roosevelt pursued the vigorous life. The Presidential Trivia exhibit at the National Archives (Pennsylvania Avenue entrance) shows a picture of Roosevelt returning from an African safari in 1910 and being met by his young cousins Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. (More about them later.)
26. TAFT IN A TOGA: Roosevelt's handpicked successor, William Howard Taft, felt like a fish out of water in the White House but found his niche later as Chief Justice. He still has a niche there, in the sculptured pediment above the main entrance to the Supreme Court building. That's Taft on the far left, his 300 pounds draped in classical garb.
27. A WASHINGTONIAN TO THE END: Woodrow Wilson was really one of us. He didn't go home to someplace like Plains when he retired but settled in Kalorama, at 2340 S Street NW. He's also the only president buried in the city, in a marble sarcophagus in Washington Cathedral. It's on your right as you enter the nave through the front entrance.
28. WHEN NORMALCY WAS THE NORM: After the cerebral Wilson, the people apparently longed for a more hail-fellow- well-met kind of president. They found him in Warren G. Harding, a small-town newspaper publisher, an affable card player, a joiner, an Elk. Whatever history's verdict of Harding's presidency, the Elks apparently still love him and name lodges after him -- including one at Seventh Street and Florida Avenue NE.
29. MAN ABOUT TOWN: Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office in Vermont -- from his father, a notary public -- and when he came to Washington he lived at the Willard Hotel until Harding's widow could move out of the White House. In 1927, while the White House was being redecorated, the Coolidges moved to Patterson House, now a private club at 15 Dupont Circle.
30. HOOVER BEFORE HOOVERVILLES: The first president born west of the Mississippi River, Herbert Hoover had an exemplary career -- at least until he became president. Cartoonist John T. McCutcheon portrayed Hoover's blameless life in the Chicago Tribune, before the Great Depression left its blot. His "Brief Pictorial History of Herbert Hoover," shown in the Presidential Trivia exhibit at the National Archives, follows him from the time he helped his pa in the blacksmith shop in Iowa until he served as a successful secretary of commerce. On the down side, the "We the People" exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History has a picture of a Hooverville within sight of the Capitol. This was a shanty town set up by the Bonus Army in 1932. Hoover called in Gen. Douglas MacArthur to rout the bonus marchers from the city. Assisting MacArthur in this endeavor was a young officer named Dwight D. Eisenhower. More about him later.
31. KISSIN' COUSINS: A fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt got engaged to another Roosevelt cousin, Eleanor, in 1904. The National Archives Presidential Trivia exhibit contains a copy of a letter sent by Theodore to Eleanor on the occasion of her engagement to Franklin. Before moving into the White House in 1933, FDR and Eleanor lived in several Washington houses, including one at 2130 R Street NW that is now the Embassy of the Republic of Mali.
32. A DINNER IN THE LIFE OF HARRY S TRUMAN: "I have another hell of a day," Truman wrote in his diary on November 1, 1945, describing his fight to make the 81st Congress tow his line. The day ended with a solitary dinner in the formal dining room at Blair House: "John brings me a demitasse (at home a little cup of coffee -- about two good gulps)." The diary is part of the Recent America exhibit at the National Archives.
33. A SCONEFUL GLANCE: A highlight of Eisenhower's visit with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Balmoral Castle was a picnic by a lake, during which the queen made drop scones on a charcoal burner. Eisenhower later wrote to the queen, requesting the recipe. The letter and the recipe are in the Recent America exhibit at the National Archives.
34. THE FLIGHT TO CAMELOT: John F. Kennedy, the youngest man ever elected president and the youngest to die in office, was also the first to campaign extensively by airplane. A replica of the interior of his campaign plane, the Caroline, is in the "We the People" exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. You can tell he brought the press along -- by the typewriters and empty beer bottles aboard.
35. THE MOST PROPHETIC LETTER HE EVER WROTE AND THE UGLIEST THING HE EVER SAW: Lyndon B.Johnson quit his job as Texas state director of the National Youth Administration in 1937, explaining: "In resigning, I plan to become a candidate for public office." The letter is in the Recent America exhibit at the National Archives. After succeeding to the highest public office, Johnson had his portrait painted by Peter Hurd. When he rejected the painting as "the ugliest thing I ever saw," it went to the National Portrait Gallery, where it's on display with portraits of all the other presidents.
36. DECLINE AND FALL: History may note his accomplishments more kindly, but right now the word most often associated with Richard Nixon is "Watergate." The Recent America exhibit at the National Archives includes the walkie-talkies used by the Watergate burglars, Bernard Barker's address book and Nixon's letter of resignation. If you want to listen to the tapes that really did him in, you'll have to go to the Archives annex in Alexandria. To make reservations, call 756- 6498.
37. SCHUSSING TOWARD THE WHITE HOUSE: The March 12, 1940, issue of Look magazine -- now in the Presidential Trivia exhibit at the National Archives -- featured an article entitled: "A New York girl and her Yale boyfriend spend a hilarious holiday on skis." The Yale law student pictured spooning and skiing was Gerald Ford, later vice president and president. The article also noted that in the club car of the train to ski country, "Gerry wins at backgammon . . ."
38. THE LEGAL PAD THAT LED TO PEACE: Jimmy Carter is kind of out right now, but he did bring a precarious peace to the Middle East with the Camp David Accords. In the Recent America exhibit at the National Archives is a yellow legal pad with a draft of the accords in Carter's handwriting. In the same exhibit is the Great Order of the Nile medal, presented to Carter by President Anwar Sadat of Egypt in 1979.
39. PRESIDENTIAL ACE: The oldest man ever elected president, Ronald Reagan spent two decades on the silver screen before entering politics. During World War II he made a training film for the Navy, which is part of the Recent America exhibit at the National Archives (press the button marked "Jap Zero"). The film shows Reagan as a pilot, leather helmet and all, downing a Japanese plane in a dogfight. Back on the ground, he tells his commanding officer: "It was a hell of an explosion, and I guess that's all, sir."
And that is all. Until the next inaugural in 1988.