SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Scotch Plains Redevelopment Coordinator Tom Strowe has many talents, but until recently few residents were aware of his encyclopedic knowledge of U.S. Presidential history.

Strowe recently hosted a well-attended presentation on the Manifest Destiny (the 1800s concept that American expansion from sea to shining sea was justified and inevitable) that examined the roles of U.S. Presidents James K. Polk (1845-49) and Zachary Taylor (1849-50). 

A 2010 graduate of Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS and 2014 graduate of Fairleigh-Dickinson University, Strowe celebrated the two U.S. Presidents had birthdays in the past week: the nearly forgotten William Henry Harrison (Feb. 9, 1773) and Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12, 1809). 

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Lincoln, of course, is considered among the greatest Presidents, while Harrison had the shortest time in office, one month, having caught pneumonia after giving the longest ever inaugural address. Harrison, who at the time was the oldest President ever elected, was the first to die in office. Lincoln, the youngest ever elected in the 19th century, was the first to be assassinated. (The 12th President, Zachary Taylor, was elected in 1848 and died in office under mysterious circumstances in 1850.)

Of all 45 commanders-in-chief, who ranks as Strowe's favorite?

"It's a hard question, but I'd say Dwight D. Eisenhower," Strowe told TAPintoSPF. "Eisenhower understood the federal budget and foreign policy better than any president. He was also well respected by both parties, and governed with moral authority."

Happy Presidents Day!

Related: Downtown NJ Announces Tom Strowe, Scotch Plains Downtown Redevelopment Coordinator, as Board Member. is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily local news source. Sign up for our free daily eNewsletter and “Like” us on Facebook and Twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.