In the great tradition of summer picnics and cookouts, this edition for educators provides inspiration for your next al fresco outing complete with a touch of the House for your celebration.
Join House Members for Cake and Punch at Woodrow Wilson’s Summer House
Early in the afternoon on Saturday, July 20, 1912, more than 100 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, all of them Democrats, got off the train in Sea Girt, New Jersey, and walked down the dusty road toward Woodrow Wilson’s summer cottage.
Take a Boat to Roosevelt’s
In 1937, Democrats held a majority in the House and Senate, yet their support for President Franklin D. Roosevelt was fracturing. Attempting to unite the splintering party and create legislative harmony, FDR invited Democratic Representatives, Senators, and Cabinet members to a weekend picnic. The President forbade open political talk at the Jefferson Islands Club picnic on the Chesapeake Bay. Legislators instead spent the weekend fishing, skeet shooting, playing baseball, and relaxing.
Yummy Pin Money Pickles and Kraut Juice
Sifted peas, Vanderbilt dressing, kraut juice, steak Stanley, and kaffee hag – now that sounds like a hearty meal. Historic menus from the House Restaurant, dating back more than 80 years, include some incomprehensible dishes. Sifted peas? That’s just one odd delicacy among many showcasing the culinary evolution of the House Restaurant during the last century.
Spuds: Maine or Idaho Tubers
Most debates in the House are settled on the House Floor. But one unusual battle was fought—with potatoes—at the House Restaurant. In the northeastern corner, armed with Aroostook spuds, was Maine. In the northwestern corner was Idaho, nicknamed the “Potato State.” Maine versus Idaho: the half-baked potato war of 1937.
What began as a casual game among colleagues has evolved into one of Congress’s most anticipated annual pastimes. Each summer, Representatives and Senators don baseball uniforms, organize teams along party lines, and play ball for charity.
Freshman Representative Fred G. Johnson, a Nebraska Republican, won the title “Champion Horseshoe Pitcher of Congress” by defeating fellow GOP Congressman and Majority Whip Albert H. Vestal of Indiana in the first congressional horseshoe match.
When legislative sessions run long and the sun bakes down on the Capitol dome, sometimes Members of Congress just want to go fishing. A congressional recess tradition, fishing has long been a respite from the humidity and politics of Washington.
This is part of a series of blog posts for educators highlighting the resources available on History, Art & Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives. For lesson plans, fact sheets, glossaries, and other materials for the classroom, see the website's Education section.Follow @USHouseHistory