As Presidents' Day and local schools' February break approach, State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I - Schenectady) suggests families may want to visit the recently renovated Hall of Governors at the State Capitol in Albany to learn more about Presidential connections to New York State.
"Did you know that a number of Presidents have been closely associated with the history of New York State?" Senator Farley asked. "Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt were all New Yorkers. Presidents Van Buren, Cleveland and both Roosevelts had each served as Governor of New York."
The Hall of Governors, located on the second floor of the State Capitol, holds portraits of the past governors of New York State, including the ones who went on to be United States presidents. All portraits in the Hall of Governors were recently reorganized to be displayed chronologically and biographies of each pictured governor were placed beneath each portrait. A timeline was also installed on the walls to provide historical context.
Senator Farley said the website http://hallofgovernors.ny.gov  provides historical documentation and also offers an online tour of the Hall of Governors. Web visitors can also listen to highlights from speeches and view writings of former governors.
"The Hall of Governors is an amazing place to visit for students and history buffs," Senator Farley said. "I offer tours of the Capitol to schools in my district and this area is highlighted on the tour. It truly is a fascinating place."
Visitors can take self-guided tours on weekdays when the buildings at the Empire State Plaza are open. They can also schedule tours through the Office of General Services at 474-2418.
Senator Farley offers the following Presidential facts and trivia as a salute to Presidents' Day.
February is considered the month for presidents because two of the great Presidents from the early years of our Nation's history were born then. Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States and the man who helped our Nation through the Civil War, and George Washington, the first President and the man who helped our struggling Nation gain its independence, were born on February 12th and February 22nd, respectively.
Did you know that we used to celebrate federal holidays on both Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays until 1971? At that time, the federal government determined that the third Monday of the month (this year it is February 20th) would be a holiday to not only celebrate these two birthdays, but to honor all of our past Presidents.
Incidentally, President Ronald Reagan's birthday was also in February -- February 6. 1911, to be exact.
The following is a list of the presidents of the United States:
1. George Washington, 1789-1797
2. John Adams, 1797-1801
3. Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
4. James Madison, 1809-1817
5. James Monroe, 1817-1825
6. John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829
7. Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837
8. Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841
9. William Henry Harrison, 1841
10. John Tyler, 1841-1845
11. James Knox Polk, 1845-1849
12. Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850
13. Millard Fillmore, 1850-1853
14. Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857
15. James Buchanan, 1857-1861
16. Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865
17. Andrew Johnson, 1865-1869
18. Ulysses Simpson Grant, 1869-1877
19. Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 1877-1881
20. James Abram Garfield, 1881
21. Chester Alan Arthur, 1881-1885
22. Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889
23. Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893
24. Grover Cleveland, 1893-1897
25. William McKinley, 1897-1901
26. Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909
27. William Howard Taft, 1909-1913
28. Woodrow Wilson, 1913 - 1921
29. Warren Gamalel Harding, 1921-1923
30. Calvin Coolidge, 1923-1929
31. Herber Clark Hoover, 1929-1933
32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933-1945
33. Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953
34. Dwight David Eisenhower, 1953-1961
35. John Fitzegerald Kennedy, 1961-1963
36. Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1963-1969
37. Richard Milhous Nixon, 1969-1974
38. Gerald Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977
39. James Earl Carter, Jr. 1977-1981
40. Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1981-1989
41. George Herbert Walker Bush, 1989-1993
42. William Jefferson Clinton, 1993-2001
43. George Walker Bush, 2001-2009
44. Barack Hussein Obama, 2009 - Current
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY ....
Taking a quick look through the list of Presidents, did you notice several last names seem to be repeating themselves?
John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, was the first President who was the son of a President. His father, John Adams, was the second President of this Nation. The 43rd President, George Walker Bush, was also a son of a President, George Herbert Walker Bush (41st President).
Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President, was the grandson of our ninth President, William Henry Harrison.
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, No. 32 on the list, were cousins.
HMMM ... I NOTICE GROVER CLEVELAND IS ON THE LIST TWICE
No, that's not a typo. Grover Cleveland was indeed elected President in 1884 and took office in 1885. After four years at the post, he lost the following election to Benjamin Harrison. The two went head-to-head again in 1892, and this time, Cleveland became the winner and resumed the Presidency in 1893.
WHO WAS THE YOUNGEST PRESIDENT?
Most people think John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the youngest President in our history. This is partially true. At age 44, he was the youngest person to be elected President. Theodore Roosevelt, at age 43, was the youngest President to take the oath of office. When William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Vice President Roosevelt became the leader of this Nation. He was subsequently elected in his own right in 1904.