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- Though several presidents have been inaugurated in places other than Washington, D.C., George Washington is the only president to have been inaugurated in two separate cities: On April 30, 1789, Washington took the presidential oath on the balcony of New York City’s Federal Hall. His second inauguration took place on March 4, 1793, at Congress Hall in Philadelphia, which was then the nation’s capital.
- Though Washington owned a lot of land—more than 50,000 acres of it, in addition to Mount Vernon—he was considered “land poor,” meaning he didn’t always have a lot of cash at his disposal. His bank account was so dry, he actually had to borrow money to travel to New York City for his first inauguration.
- In an effort to demonstrate what he deemed “Republican simplicity,” Thomas Jefferson opted to walk to and from his inauguration, which was in stark contrast to the pomp and circumstance displayed by his predecessors. According to the Alexandria Times, Jefferson wore the clothes “of a plain citizen without any distinctive badge of office,” and walked from New Jersey Avenue and C Street, where he had been staying at a boarding house, to the Capitol.
- On March 4, 1825, John Quincy Adams changed the sartorial style by wearing long pants. In previous years, knee breeches were the standard uniform.
- In 1849, Zachary Taylor refused to be sworn in on a Sunday, because he was very strict about “keeping holy the Sabbath.” The position of president couldn’t just be vacant until Monday, so the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, David Rice Atchison, was brought in as a pinch hitter. There’s some debate as to whether this actually makes him the 12th president and Zachary Taylor the 13th, but obviously, it’s generally accepted that he doesn’t count. He didn’t even stake claim to the title, and repeatedly told people that he slept through most of his day as president. He must have had a good sense of humor about the whole thing, though, as evidenced by the inscription on his gravestone.
- When he was inaugurated on March 4, 1853, Franklin Pierce became the only president to “affirm” the office of the president rather than “swear” it, and did not use a Holy Bible. He did so as he was in the midst of a crisis of faith; he was still reeling from the death of his only son, Benjamin, who had died in a train crash two months earlier.
- Though Ronald Reagan holds the record for coldest-ever Inauguration Day, Ulysses S. Grant’s ceremony—which took place on March 4, 1873—came in second. High winds and a temperature of 16 degrees led to the food (and champagne!) for the reception freezing. So did hundreds of caged canaries, which had been brought in for the festivities.
- Calvin Coolidge had some interesting people swear him in as president. After Warren G. Harding died in office, Coolidge was sworn in by his notary public dad. They were at a farm in Vermont and had to conduct the whole thing by kerosene lamp at 2:47 a.m. on August 3, 1923. (The new President then reportedly went back to bed.) The second time, in 1925, he was sworn in by former president William Howard Taft, who was chief justice of the Supreme Court at the time.
- The entire nation got to take part in Harry S. Truman’s second inauguration; the event, which took place on January 20, 1949, was the first-ever televised inaugural ceremony.
- Bill Clinton’s second inauguration, which took place on January 20, 1997, was the first ceremony to be streamedlive on the web.
- Barack Obama’s first inauguration, on January 20, 2009, broke a few records: In addition to boasting the largest attendance of any presidential inauguration in history, it was also the largest event to ever take place in Washington, D.C. Those who couldn’t make it to the nation’s capital were tuning in, too; it’s the internet’s most-watched swearing-in ceremony.
- After Chief Justice John Roberts misstated a few words while administering the oath of office to Barack Obama during his first inauguration in 2009, Obama was sworn in again the next day, “out of an abundance of caution.” He did it again in 2013, because January 20 fell on a Sunday; he took the oath privately on the 20, then publicly on the 21. It was only the second timein history that a president was sworn in four times; the other was FDR, who served four terms.
(All information and more can be found here.)
Blessings in abundance!