Daily Archives: January 20, 2009

Fun Inauguration Facts

Inaugural and The Patriot-News brings us some fun inauguration facts to tickle the cerebral funny bone in all of us.  You probably heard or read some of these at some point in those onerous history classes.  And today you can try to recall if you ever heard such a fact.

  • George Washington was inaugurated in New York City on the balcony of Federal Hall, on Thursday, April 30, 1789.  He set the precedents by ad-libbing “so help me God” and a kiss on the Bible.  His svelte attire for the day, Dark brown suit (made in America), with steel-hilted sword, white silk stockings, and silver shoe buckles.
  • 1837 – Martin Van Buren was the first President who was not born a British subject.
  • 1841 – William Henry Harrison was the first president to arrive in Washington by train.  He also gave the longest address, 8,445 words that lasted almost 2 hours.  He died of pneumonia 1 month later.  The shortest address was by George Washington at 135 words.
  • 1845 – James K. Polk had the first Inauguration covered by telegraph, and the first known Inauguration featured in a newspaper illustration (Illustrated London News).
  • 1850 to current – Tennessee’s Johnston & Murphy has gifted handmade shoes to every new president, starting with Millard Fillmore. Lincoln’s shoe size has taken biggest size honors yet, at size 14.
  • 1897 – William McKinley had the first Inauguration recorded by a motion picture camera.
  • 1925 – Calvin Coolidge had the first Inauguration broadcast live by radio.
  • 1929 – Herbert Hoover had the first Inauguration recorded by talking newsreel. 
  • 1945 – Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first and only President sworn in for a fourth term.  He had a simple Inaugural ceremony at the White House.  At the height of WWII, the Inauguration was simple and austere with no fanfare or formal celebration following the event.  There was no parade because of gas rationing and a lumber shortage.
  • 1997- Bill Clinton had the first Inauguration broadcast live on the internet.

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