Black Copter Down
Usually the airspace over the White House is considered restricted, but with the advent of drones, the small crafts have been dropping in on the First Family more and more. Drones are easy to deal with but what about a helicopter?
That was the situation facing the Secret Service back in 1974 when 20-year-old Robert Preston stole a helicopter from an Army base and took it for a wild joy ride
that ended on the White House front lawn. Ironically, Preston flunked helicopter school.
Willie Nelson Lit Up on the Roof
If there is one musician who knows his way around weed
, it is country music legend Willie Nelson. He’s also not shy about his marijuana use. When President Jimmy Carter invited Nelson to spend the night after a concert, he found his way up on the roof with what Nelson described in his autobiography as a ” fat Austin torpedo
.” Party on, Willie.
Andrew Jackson’s Inagural Was a Huge Blow Out Bash
Every president gets to throw an inaugural ball to celebrate their swearing in. When President Andrew Jackson took the oath on March, 4, 1829, he invited a few friends back to the White House to honor the occasion. Before long those few friends swelled into a drunken mob
that wrecked furniture and broke dishes. Jackson snuck out the back door to avoid the mayhem.
Lincoln’s Ghost Stops By to Say “Boo”
What do Winston Churchill, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, and Maureen Reagan have in common? They all claimed to have seen the ghost of Abraham Lincoln in the White House. Apparently, of all the ghosts who supposedly haunting the White House, Lincoln’s is the most popular.
First Lady Seances
First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln was way into the occult. She reportedly held numerous seances
in the White House. She also claimed to have heard the ghost of Andrew Jackson stomping around the halls, looking for his dead sons. Good times.
Mr. T Plays Santa For Nancy Reagan
In the early ’80s, Mr. T was all the rage. It stands to reason he would be invited to play Santa Claus
at the annual White House Christmas Party. First Lady Nancy Reagan was so caught up in the spirit of things, she sat on Mr. T’s lap to tell him what she wanted for Christmas. Pity the fool who doesn’t find that totally bizarre.
Clinton Staffers Trash West Wing for Incoming Bush Staffers
The much contested 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore left a bitter taste in the mouths of outgoing Clinton West Wing staffers. That is probably why they trashed the place to the tune of $14,000 in damages
, including $4,850 spent to replace all the computer keyboards missing the “W” key.
Tallest President Meets Shortest General
President Abraham Lincoln stood 6′ 4″. That made his meeting with General Tom Thumb, who was 35 inches tall, quite the show.
The get-together was arranged by master showman PT Barnum. Yes, the circus came to the White House.
Special Agent Elvis Presley Reported for Duty
On December 21, 1970, President Richard Nixon took a break from making secret recordings to welcome the King of Rock and Roll to the Oval Office. This wasn’t the usual “meet and greet,” Elvis was on a mission
. He wanted to be named Federal Agent-at-Large for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. He also wanted a badge. He didn’t get either.
Burning Down the White House
Party crashers are one thing, but what about when an entire army shows up uninvited? That happened
during the War of 1812, when British troops made their way up the Potomac to the White House. President James Madison wasn’t home, but his wife Dolly had to make a fast escape, with a portrait of George Washington in tow. The British took a torch to the place.
A Maid Walked in on Reagan While He Was Naked
The staff that maintains the White House works around the clock, including several dozen maids. Ivaniz Silva was one such maid, and she got a real treat when she walked in on then President Reagan in his bedroom; he was in his birthday suit surrounded by papers. She rushed right out.
Party Crashers Slip By Secret Service
If you’re going to crash a party, you should crash a White House party. Tareq and Michaele Salahi did just that in 2009, when they arrived, uninvited, for a White House dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. According to the Washington Post
, the Salahis made it past two security checkpoints because they looked the part, and did so as an act of self-promotion in their bid to become reality TV stars.
Big Block of Cheese Day
Andrew Jackson recovered from the inaugural bash that nearly destroyed the White House and threw open the building’s doors to the general public once more on Big Block of Cheese Day
. It wasn’t called that back then – it’s a long story, but basically, West Wing
picked up on the idea, then the actual White House took it from the TV show. Anyway, Jackson put a massive block of cheese in the White House foyer and kept the building’s doors open, as a symbol of his desire to have real dialogue with the American people.
Once in Lifetime White House Prom
For high school seniors, prom is the biggest event of the year. What could be more memorable than throwing that party at the White House? That is exactly what seventeen-year-old Susan Ford did when her dad was President. It was the only time a prom ever took place in POTUS’s residence.
Bowling With Nixon
When he wasn’t busy running the country and covering up Watergate, President Nixon enjoyed bowling. So much so he installed a bowling lane
in the White House basement. One night, Nixon was wandering about his residence and struck up a conversation with pot washer Frankie Blair. Their talk turned to bowling, and the two ended up throwing a few balls down the Presidential lane.
President Obama Holds Beer Summit
Early into his first term, President Obama held a beer summit
. Drinking in the White House isn’t new. What made this summit special was that it involved a Harvard professor and the police officer who wrongly arrested him as he was going into his own home. By all accounts, beer and peanuts smoothed things over and a good time was had by all.