5 Things You Didn't Know About Dwight Eisenhower

On this day in 1969, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States and one of the most highly regarded American generals of World War II,, died in Washington, D.C., at the age of 78. Here are 5 interesting facts you didn’t know about President Dwight Eisenhower...


“Ike” Was the Nickname for the Entire Family If someone called another family member in the Eisenhower family, it must have been confusing because all of them were nicknamed "Ike." It was the name used for all seven of the boys in the Eisenhower family, with Edgar being called “Big Ike” and Dwight called “Little Ike.” By the time World War II rolled around, the future president was the only Eisenhower sibling who retained the name “Ike.”

Camp David is Named After His Grandson Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman originally called the Maryland presidential retreat, “Shangri-La” after the fictional Himalayan paradise. Eisenhower, however, wanted a less formal moniker so he renamed it in 1953 in honor of his 5-year-old grandson, David. “Shangri-La was just a little fancy for a Kansas farm boy,” he wrote in a 1953.


Both the Republican and Democratic Parties Wanted Him Eisenhower became popular and famous during World War II as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, and when the war was over, both major political parties wanted to claim him as their own. At first, Eisenhower refused, but his name was submitted by Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. in the Republican New Hampshire primary without Eisenhower’s knowledge or consent. When he ended up winning the primary, he decided to continue to run for president, and the rest is history. He served two terms as president.

He Was The First President to Ride in a Helicopter At Eisenhower’s suggestion, the Secret Service approved of the use of helicopters as a more efficient and safer means of travel than limousines for short trips to and from the White House. On July 12, 1957, Eisenhower became the first president to employ the new aviation technology when he rode in a two-passenger Bell H-13J helicopter to Camp David as part of a test of White House evacuation procedures.

His Hobby Was Painting Even rugged men such as Eisenhower need some downtime and relaxation, and the former president found it in art. While Eisenhower was the president at Columbia University, he received a gift of a paint kit from Thomas E. Stephens, the artist who painted portraits of Eisenhower and his wife. Eisenhower produced more than 250 works of art during his lifetime but was more than a little modest about his talent.