William Taft, our 27th president, is known for many things, but being an effective president is not one of them. President Taft attended Yale and climbed the political ladder through his knowledge of the law. Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt appointed him to political positions that eventually led to his nomination for president. Though he won, he disliked being commander in chief and only served one term. Here are some other interesting facts about President Taft:
- Taft was the first president to throw the first pitch of baseball season, beginning a tradition that continues today. The game was in 1910, between the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics. The Senators won 3-0.
- Taft was the first president to own a car. He actually converted the White House stables into a garage!
- Taft was the last president to keep a cow at the White House to provide fresh milk. Her name was Pauline.
- Taft successfully argued for the construction of the U.S. Supreme Court Building. He felt that the Supreme Court should distance itself from Congress, since it was a separate branch of the government. Prior to this, the Supreme Court heard cases in the Capitol Building.
- At over 330 pounds, Taft was the heaviest president. Once, he got stuck in the White House bath tub and required six aides to pull him free. After that, the tub was replaced with a new one, large enough to hold four men.
- William Taft was the first president to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. John F. Kennedy is the only other president buried there.
- Taft was the only president to ever serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, making him the only person to ever hold a position in both the Executive and Judicial branches of the United States government. Taft considered his time as Chief Justice to be the highest point of his career. In fact, he once wrote, “I don’t remember that I ever was president.”
- Taft is the only former president to swear in an incoming president. While serving as Chief Justice, Taft administered the Oath of Office to Calvin Coolidge in 1925 and Herbert Hoover in 1929.