10. A President’s grandson
Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of President William Henry Harrison, the 9th President of the United States. Benjamin was seven years old when his grandfather was elected president.
9. First electricity in the White House
Harrison was the first president to use electricity in the White House, installed by Edison General Electric Company. However, he and his wife would not touch the light switches for fear of being electrocuted and often went to bed with the lights left on.
8. Harrison was a big talker
Once, over a period of thirty days, Harrison made 140 completely different speeches.
7. Indiana roots
Benjamin Harrison was the first and only president from Indiana.
6. Harrison had ice in his veins
Harrison was known by some as the “human iceberg” because he was often very formal and stiff when dealing with people.
5. Harrison shuffled the deck
On November 2, 1889, President Harrison signed the proclamations admitting North and South Dakota to the Union. Due to a rivalry which existed between the two states, Harrison ordered the papers to be shuffled and for the names to be hidden from him while signing so there would be no argument over which he signed first. We don’t actually know which one was signed first because it was never recorded. However, since North Dakota is before South Dakota alphabetically, its proclamation was printed first in the Statutes At Large, thus North Dakota has always been considered the 39th state.
4. Harrison lost the popular vote
In the Election of 1888, Harrison lost the popular vote by 90,000 votes but won in the Electoral College by a margin of 233 to 168, giving him the presidency.
3. Billion dollar Congress
During Harrison’s administration, Congress appropriated $1 billion in annual spending for the first time.
2. A unique voice
Harrison was the first president known to have his voice preserved. In 1889, a thirty-six second speech was recorded on a wax phonograph cylinder.
1. The first President to lose to a former President
Benjamin Harrison defeated the incumbent President Grover Cleveland in the election of 1888. However, in his bid for re-election in 1892, Harrison was defeated by Cleveland making it the only time an incumbent president was defeated by a former president.
The Election of 1892 also gave us another first. It was the first time no candidate campaigned in a presidential election. Neither Harrison nor Cleveland actively campaigned, relying on surrogates instead.