Ten historical facts I learned while hiking through Appalachia


Rip Van Winkle statue, Irvington, New York, Aug. 13, 2013.
  1. The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt., is managed by Sam von Trapp and his father, Johannes. Johannes is the son of Georg and Maria von Trapp, after whom The Sound of Music was loosely based.

  2. A display at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y., showcases a photograph taken in downtown Stevens Point, Wis.

  3. Former U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, were fifth cousins once removed.

  4. Though the now-famous opening line of FDR’s speech to Congress read, “a date which will live in infamy,” in the original draft, the line was, “a date which will live in world history.”

  5. As was convention, FDR did not have his first hair cut until he was about 5 years old.

  6. The first time a reigning British monarch ever set foot on U.S. soil was in 1939, when King George VI and Elizabeth visited.

  7. More U.S. presidents (8) were born in Virginia than in any other state: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

  8. According to Washington Irving in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Tarrytown, N.Y., received its name, “by the good housewives of the adjacent country,” because their husbands tended to tarry in the town.

  9. Before Shenandoah National Park was established, former U.S. president Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou, built Rapidan Camp and used it as a retreat from the humid and hot Washington, D.C.

  10. The Civilian Conservation Corps was a Depression-era work relief program that provided young men with boarding, food, and jobs related to conserving and developing the nation’s natural resources. Though the CCC was defunded when the U.S. entered World War II, many of the structures the CCC “boys” built are still in use.

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