Father's Day 2011: How many presidential babies were born at White House?
Ahead of Father's Day 2011, President Obama said not to expect another little Obama. In fact, only one US president has welcomed the birth of a child in the White House. But who is he?
President Obama says nobody's going to hear the pitter-patter of little feet in the White House residence while he lives there – unless the feet belong to visitors, that is. The Obamas themselves don't plan to have any more children. That's what America's "first dad" told an ABC interviewer on Friday, anyway. Which leads us to ask this question: Which US president did welcome the birth of a child in the White House?Skip to next paragraph
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Hmm. This is tough trivia. You'd guess that this president would have to have been young, like John F. Kennedy or Theodore Roosevelt. Those would be good choices – both had toddlers when they moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – but neither is the guy.
The key is to focus not on the president but on the spouse. That brings you to the youngest first lady in US history, who was 21 when she assumed the role. Twenty-one! She was serving as America's hostess at an age when many modern presidential kids hadn't yet figured out what to do with their lives.
But by all accounts Frances Cleveland did a pretty good job in her difficult role. Yes, Grover Cleveland is our man. He was a bachelor when he won the White House in 1884. He married Frances Folsom, the daughter of an old friend, in the Blue Room on June 2, 1886.
Cleveland lost to Benjamin Harrison in 1888. He won his old job back in 1892. Grover and "Frankie" had one daughter while he was between White House terms. Then on Sept. 9, 1893, they welcomed a second daughter, Esther. She remains the only child born in the actual executive mansion. Some historical accounts claim that in those pre-TMZ days the first couple hadn't bothered to publicly announce the pregnancy, and the birth took the nation by surprise.
Other children followed, but all were born elsewhere, or after Cleveland left office.
The neighborhood? Oh, right – Cleveland Park is a tony enclave of big old homes in D.C.'s northwest quadrant. It got its name because Cleveland bought homes there that he used as refuges from downtown's stress and heat.
The Obama girls go to Sidwell Friends, a Quaker private establishment whose middle and upper schools are on the edge of Cleveland Park.