5 Surprising Presidential Firsts You Never Knew About

On March 29, 1929, President Herbert Hoover had a phone installed at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House. Here are 5 presidential milestones that you may not have read about in history books...


Herbert Hoover Was The First President With a Phone in His Office The first telephone in the White House dates all the way back to Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president, who installed one in the White House’s “telegraph room” in 1877. Herbert Hoover, however, was the first president to have one installed in the Oval Office, which he did on this day in 1929. Hoover had already been using a phone just outside the office, so it did make sense to take that next step.

William Howard Taft Was The First President to Own a Car A year after the introduction of the Model T Ford in 1908, Congress authorized $12,000 so that the 27th president, William Howard Taft, could have two motor cars at the White House. Though the president was on board with the new car craze, many members of the populace still saw cars as just a fad, and Congress’s decision wasn’t a popular one.


William Henry Harrison Was First to Be Photographed While in Office William Henry Harrison had a daguerreotype taken of himself after he was sworn into office in 1841, and this was the first instance of a president being photographed. The original has been lost, but one copy still survives and is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. A photo of James K. Polk, the 11th president, is the oldest surviving image that was taken while he was in office.

Gerald Ford Was The First President to Appear on Saturday Night Live Many presidents and presidential candidates have appeared on Saturday Night Live, but most of them appeared only during the candidate stage or after they had left office. However, Republican Gerald Ford has the honor of being both the first President ever impersonated on Saturday Night Live and also the first to appear on the show. Ford appeared on the show to deliver the signature "Live from New York" line in April 1976.

Richard M. Nixon Was The First President to Visit All 50 States Resigning wasn’t the only thing Richard M. Nixon was first at! The 37th president would be the first one to visit all 50 states before leaving office. Nixon visited his 50th state, Delaware, in 1971 for a meeting with Republican fundraisers. Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama would follow his example (visiting every state, that is).