Useless But Compelling Facts – March

Belated Happy New Year to all from the UBCF desk. As you know, we took a break from our “Useless But Compelling Facts” in December, and although the break lasted longer than I planned, I am pleased to report – we’re back!

So let’s begin the new year of trivial information that is destined to spice up your social media chatter:

Just a little more than a year ago, then President-elect Barack Obama become the first President-elect in more than 50 years (since President Eisenhower waved a fond farewell from a train on his way to inauguration in 1953) to board a train and head for his inauguration in Washington, D.C. ‘Whistle-stop’ campaigns owe their etymology to train campaigning – probably the most well-known image of a President-elect on a train is the picture of Harry Truman (whose campaign train was nicknamed the “Victory Special”) holding up the Chicago Tribune’s previous day’s headline incorrectly proclaiming “Dewey Defeats Truman”.

The President-elect tradition of coming to Washington, D.C. from Philadelphia by train is often credited as having originated, through a convoluted series of surreptitious changes and disguises, with Abraham Lincoln – who was a railroad lawyer before his ascendency in U.S. politics. But alas, President-elect Lincoln was not the first to make such a train trip.

Tell us, which President-elect was the first to do so? Be the first with the correct answer and be awarded the first prize of 2010. Send your answers to