The United States has been celebrating George Washington’s birthday since he was president! Over the years, some of our first president’s thunder has been stolen, and the holiday has gone from Washington’s birthday to a day celebrating all presidents. Whatever you call the holiday, here are 5 fun, little-known facts about the third Monday in February!
1. Presidents' Day isn't really Presidents' Day.
The federal holiday, always celebrated on the third week of February, was created to honor our first president, George Washington. Although the federally-recognized holiday honors Washington, Presidents' Day has become the familiar name for the holiday thanks to several presidents’ birthdays taking place in February.
2. And, the holiday was changed in the 60's to give Americans a three-day weekend!
The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed in 1968 to allow certain federal holidays to be celebrated on designated Mondays. The idea was that giving American employees semi-regular three-day weekends would cut down on worker absenteeism and increase productivity. (The same reasoning applies to Memorial Day too!)
3. George Washington never had wooden teeth!
The myth about George Washington’s wooden teeth is certainly a popular one! But, while it’s true that our first president had fake teeth, they were made from elephant and walrus tusks. Some believe that Washington’s fondness for wine stained the grooves in his teeth, giving them the appearance of wood grain.
4. Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender.
Before becoming a lawyer—and long before his presidency—Honest Abe was a licensed bartender, and co-owned a drinking establishment called the Berry and Lincoln in New Salem, Illinois.
5. Mount Rushmore almost had FIVE faces!
A bill was introduced to add Susan B. Anthony’s face alongside the four great US presidents. Anthony is largely credited with the suffragette movement and played a large role in achieving women’s suffrage. But, the bill was shot down, and Mount Rushmore’s four faces were effectively set in stone.