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When the White House was Locked In: The Amusing Story of Angeline Cliett

Read the amusing story of Angeline Cliett, the 19-year-old Texan who locked the White House gate in 1958. Learn why President Eisenhower took no action against her and how the situation was resolved!
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Angeline Cliett with Rep. Clark Thompson (D-Tex) - July 23rd, 1958 (Daytona Beach Morning Journal)
Angeline Cliett with Rep. Clark Thompson (D-Tex) – July 23rd, 1958 (Daytona Beach Morning Journal)

You know how bad it sucks to accidentally lock yourself out of your house. How about when you’re locked in and your home is the White House? Well, that actually happened to President Eisenhower. Here is an amusing article from the Baltimore Sun on August 2nd, 1958.

Washington, Aug. 1 (AP)–A 19-year-old blonde from Texas padlocked the White House gate today after failing to get inside.

The girl, Angeline Cliett, of Waller, Texas, showed up ten days ago with a heavy chain locked around her neck and heavy trouble locked in her heart.

She had sent a key ahead to President Eisenhower with the idea that he could unlock the chain after helping to settle the trouble. The White House, however, simply left the key at the main gate with word that Angeline could pick it up any time.

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Angeline and her aunt, Mrs. Lucy Mayberry, kept coming back day after day but there was no sign of Mr. Eisenhower and no invitation to pass through the gate.

Finally, today–it was raining and everything was pretty dismal–Angeline asked the guard for her key. She unlocked her chain, looped it through the gate, and calmly snapped the lock shut. Then she and her aunt sauntered away from there heedless of he anguished shouts of the guard.

Being locked in, he couldn’t pursue the pair.

It took a workman with hammer and pliers about three minutes to pry the chain loose and get the gate back under White House control.

Angeline’s trouble? Her mother is waging a court battle over 350 acres of Texas ranch lang and is on the losing side right at the moment.

This is part of the same ranch that tried to secede from the union and join the United Nations last spring.

James Hagerty, White House press secretary, said no action would be taken against Angeline for locking Mr. Eisenhower in.

This is quite an amusing story, but I’m shocked that no action was taken against Cliett. I think we all know what would happen if this took place today.

padlocked gate
padlocked gate
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