On this day in 1973, in the midst of the Watergate scandal that eventually ended his presidency, President Richard Nixon told a group of newspaper editors that he is “not a crook.” Here are 5 things you didn't know about the president that some nicknamed “Tricky Dick.”...
He Installed A Bowling Alley Under The White House
Richard Nixon was an avid bowler, preferring the sport to golf unlike most presidents. In 1969, he ordered that a new lane be constructed underground below the White House driveway leading to the North Portico. Nixon allegedly once bowled 300 games back to back and although his average is said to have been a closely guarded state secret, the press reported his high score to be an impressive 232.
He Wanted The Secret Service To Wear Uniforms
Members of the Secret Service usually dress in suits and ties with sunglasses and the obligatory earbuds. However, When Nixon took office, however, he wanted his men to resemble the palace guards he had seen in other countries. That being said, he insisted his Secret Service detail wear odd-looking hats and white double-breasted tunics complete with gold braid and epaulets. After he was criticized by the press, Nixon abandoned the idea and the outfits were eventually donated to a high school marching band.
He Almost Messed Up The Charles Manson Trial
While Nixon was in office in 1969, America was consumed with the national obsession over cult leader Charles Manson and his followers, some of whom had gone on a murder spree that left actress Sharon Tate and several others dead. During the trial in 1970, Nixon publicly stated that Manson was “was guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight murders without reason.” The lawyers for Manson were quick to move for a mistrial because of Nixon’s statement. The president retracted his statement, with a spokesperson suggesting he neglected to include the word “allegedly.”
Milhous Was His Mother’s Maiden Name
Nixon’s unusual middle name came from the maternal side of his family. Hannah Elizabeth Milhous was the maiden name of the president’s mother before she married Francis Anthony Nixon. When the ancestors of Nixon’s mother moved from Germany to England in the 1600s, they changed their last names from Milhausen to Milhous.
He Ran A Failed Orange Juice Business In 1938, Richard Nixon and several investors attempted to strike it rich making California orange juice. Nixon was the president of the Citra-Frost Company, which produced and sold the frozen orange juice. The future president even cut and squeezed the oranges himself. Unfortunately, Citra-Frost’s misguided attempt to freeze the juice itself, rather than the concentrate, doomed it to bankruptcy after just 18 months.