10. A sharp dressed man
Arthur was sometimes called “elegant Arthur” for his interest in fashionable attire and on his last day in office, four young women offered to marry him. It was said he had over eighty pairs of pants and often changed them several times a day.
9. A skilled fisherman
Arthur belonged to the Restigouche Salmon Club, a group of fishermen from New York who traveled to Canada to fish. A skilled fisherman, he once reportedly caught an eighty pound bass off the coast of Rhode Island.
8. Late night strolls
Arthur liked to take friends on late night walks around Washington, D.C., sometimes as late as three or four in the morning. It was rare for him to be in bed before two o’clock.
7. Arthur requested standardized time
At the request of President Arthur, the International Meridian Conference was held in Washington, D.C. in October 1884 to determine the Prime Meridian of the world. The conference established the Greenwich Meridian and international standardized time, which are both still recognized today.
6. The first oath in a president’s home
Arthur was the first president to take the Oath of Office in his own home. He actually took the oath twice. The first time was at his personal residence in New York City where it was given to him just after midnight on September 20, hours after President Garfield died. Arthur took the oath again two days later after returning to Washington. The second oath was performed to clear up any dispute over whether the first oath was official since it was administered by a state, not a federal, official.
5. Arthur’s questionable citizenship
Political opponents of Arthur questioned his citizenship and alleged he was born in Canada, making him ineligible to serve as President because he wasn’t a natural-born citizen. However, some argue that even if born in Canada, this point was meaningless since his mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth. Arthur denied the allegations and continued on with his term.
4. No Inaugural Address
President Arthur made no Inaugural Address.
3. Arthur destroyed his records
After spending the summer in Connecticut, Arthur returned home very ill. On November 16, 1886, he ordered the burning of nearly all his personal and official papers. He died two days later as the result of a cerebral hemorrhage.
2. Arthur had no Vice President
Arthur briefly served as President Garfield’s Vice President. After Garfield’s death, Arthur became President leaving the Vice President’s office vacant.
1. Arthur put the White House furniture up for auction
After Garfield’s death, Arthur did not immediately move into the White House. He insisted it be redecorated and had twenty-four wagonloads of furniture hauled off and sold at public auction. The pieces included some dating back to John Adams’ term and would be considered priceless today.