Monday, January 19, 2009

How to impress friends: Inaugural Fun Facts

Well, Happy Inauguration Eve! Whether President-elect Obama is your guy or not, it is a very exciting moment in both American and presidential history. And in just 12 short hours he will officially be the 44th President of the United States of America.

Now let's get to the important stuff...

To celebrate this event, our local cupcakery has put together a Presidential cupcake combo including; a pina colada cupcake honoring his Hawaiian birthplace, a marble cupcake with chocolate frosting called Mr. Chicago and the White House cupcake - fresh raspberries in white cake topped with blueberry buttercream.

I ordered a mixed dozen of the bite-sized mini versions to enjoy tomorrow night with friends, who are seeking solace in food. Mr. News Readin' is totally annoyed that I am buying into the hysteria. We'll see what song he's singing when faced with a mini-Mr. Chicago...

Being a massive history geek, I thought it would be fun to share some inaugural fun facts that you can pass along as well-earned knowledge at the next cocktail party. (I know you were really hoping for a cupcake...)

Inaugural Firsts

  • George Washington's was the shortest inaugural address. Only 135 words!
  • William Henry Harrison's was the longest inaugural address, consisting of 8,445 words in 1841. He spoke for over two hours in frigid weather without an overcoat. He died just 31 days into his presidency and many blamed it on his inaugural weather without a coat. (Probably not the case. Most likely a common cold.)
  • The first inaugural ball was held for James Madison in 1809.
  • John Quincy Adams was the first president sworn in wearing long trousers in 1825.
  • Warren G. Harding was the first president to ride to and from his inaugural in an automobile in 1921.

Presidential Weather

  • Between 1789 and 1993, 35 inaugurations enjoyed clear weather.
  • During ten inaugurations it rained, and seven had snow.
  • The warmest inauguration was Ronald Reagan's first on January 20, 1981. It was 55°.
  • The coldest was Reagan's second on Jan. 21, 1985. It was 7°.

Passing the Torch

All but six presidents took the presidential oath in Washington D.C. The exceptions were:

  • George Washington - 1789, New York City; 1793, Philadelphia
  • John Adams -1797, Philadelphia
  • Chester Arthur - 1881, New York City
  • Theodore Roosevelt—1901, Buffalo
  • Calvin Coolidge —1923, Plymouth, Vt.
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson —1963, Dallas

The U.S. capital had not yet been transferred from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. when Washington and Adams were sworn into office. The District did not become the seat of government until December 1, 1800.

Arthur, T. Roosevelt, Coolidge, and L. B. Johnson had all been vice-presidents who assumed the presidency upon the deaths of their predecessors, and none was in Washington, D.C., when the oath of office was administered.

Only four retiring presidents have not attended the inaugurations of their successors. Those who were absent:
  • John Adams missed Thomas Jefferson's inaugural.
  • John Quincy Adams was not present at Andrew Jackson's.
  • Andrew Johnson was not present at Ulysses Grant's ceremony.
  • Richard Nixon was not present at Gerald Ford's inaugural.

Stay tuned for our upcoming special report on Presidential china. (Insert Oooohhhhh's and aaahhhh's...)


The Lawyer's Wife said...

I was watching a special last night and then said that the only president that did not live in the White House was George Washington ...

Ok, history girl ... is this correct?

News Readin' Wife said...

This is true!

The White House was not completed until after Washington's death.

He was, however, very involved in the planning of the capitol structures and the layout of the city that would eventually bear his name.

Told you. Geek!

The Mrs. said...

You have done your research my dear! Love it!

Legallyblondemel said...

Impressive. Didn't think I could get more interested in today's events, but between the history lesson, the promise of executive china, and cupcakery, I'm hooked.

Hilary said...

Finally that history major has paid off!