the twentieth century the president’s vehicles
were not armored-plated or specially built. Their
carriages were similar to those of citizens of
wealth. Often they were gifts from admirers. George
Washington had the most elaborate turn out of
the presidents for state occasions, sporting a
cream-colored carriage drawn by six matched horses
“all brilliantly caparisoned.” Coachmen
and footmen wore livery trimmed with white and
brilliant red-orange that Washington had selected
long before for his racing silks.
President Franklin Pierce preferred an informal
coach and often rode through Washington in an
“unpretentious one-horse shay.” Chester
A. Arthur was far more conspicuous in his stylish
dark green landau. It was drawn by two perfectly
matched mahogany bays with flowing manes and tails.
The harness was mounted with silver, and had dark
green kersey dress blankets ornamented with the
Grover Cleveland and Mrs. Cleveland kept five
matched brown horses in the White House stable
for their carriages. Their favorite was the open
landau that was taken out for drives in the Rock
Creek valley and the surrounding hills of Washington.
Andrew Johnson, James A. Garfield and William
McKinley also greatly enjoyed such relaxing excursions
with their wives and families. Ulysses S. Grant
and Rutherford B. Hayes were the most avid enthusiasts
of driving as a sport. No matter what the purpose,
the president’s style always was on display
in carriages, equipage and livery.