Now You Know
Why is the American presidential home called
the “White House”?
From 1800, when John Adams became the first
president to inhabit it,
until 1814, when the British burned it because
the Americans had
torched Toronto, the presidential building
was a grey Virginia freestone.
It was painted white to cover up the fire
damage done by the British. It
wasn’t officially called the White House
until Teddy Roosevelt began
printing its image on the executive mansion
stationery in 1901.
Why is Chicago called the “Windy City”?
Most people believe that Chicago got its
nickname from its prevailing
winds, but that isn’t the case. In 1893,
Chicago hosted the World’s
Columbian Exposition, celebrating the four
hundredth anniversary of
America’s discovery. The city’s aggressive
promotional campaign for
the event offended the people of New York,
whose press nicknamed it
the Windy City to mock its bragging ways.
The moniker stuck, but, fortunately
for Chicago, its original meaning has been
forgotten by most.
Why do we call someone who does things differently
In the nineteenth century, Samuel A. Maverick
was a stubborn Texas
rancher who, because he said it was cruel,
refused to brand his cattle
even though it was the only way to identify
who owned free-range livestock.
Instead he would round up all the unbranded
cattle he could
find, even those not from his own herd. At
first any stray unbranded
cow was called a “maverick,” but the word
has grown to mean anyone
who doesn’t play by the rules.
Why is a private detective called a “private
In 1850, the Pinkerton Detective Agency opened
in Chicago with the
slogan “We never sleep,” and its symbol was
a large wide-open eye.
Pinkerton was very effective and criminals
began calling the feared
operation “the eye.” Raymond Chandler and
other fiction writers of
the 1930s and 1940s simply embellished the
underworld expression by
introducing “private eye” as a description
for any private investigator.
From The Book Titled "Now You Know"
by Doug Lennox