There weren’t many hotel or motel chains in those days, so famous people - indeed, all travellers - slept in taverns, inns, private homes or camped out under the stars.
Perhaps that’s why Presidents' Weekend is known as the best time for sales of mattresses and bedding, as every US department and bedding store advertises great prices!
Seriously though, Presidents’ Weekend is relatively new. When I was in elementary school in New York, we celebrated Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays on two weekends in February, each with a Monday or Friday off.
Since they were both legal holidays - with banks, businesses, government offices and schools closed – someone suggested that perhaps the two holidays could be combined with only one day off instead of two. While schoolchildren mourned the loss of an anticipated holiday, the business community welcomed it.
Each state sets its observance of the holiday, and not all US states observe Presidents' Weekend. Read the history here.
George M. Cohan – a Broadway musical star – wrote a snappy song in honor of George Washington’s 200th birthday, which was observed on February 22, 1932. The song was titled “Father of the Land We Love.” Congressman Sol Bloom, the bicentennial commission’s associate director, sang Cohan’s song to an audience in the White House press room, on July 30, 1931.
Interested in resources for other popular American songs? Try Baylor University's Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music. View the original sheet music for this song here.
See portraits or photographs of all the US presidents here.