Search National Register Search

Washington, DC Presidential Inaugural 2009

Come for the Inauguration,
Stay for the History


Inauguration of President Garfield
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress - POS - MIN - .H39, no. 1 (C size) <P&P>[P&P]

Welcome to Washington, DC

Washington, DC, has witnessed many important historic events, but few are as momentous or inspiring as the inauguration of a new President. It is expected that possibly millions of people will come to Washington, DC for this Inauguration. While in Washington, we urge you to visit the many buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects listed in the National Register of Historic Places which bring the 200-year history of the city to life.

Every places tells the story of those who were there. The location for the capital city, originally occupied by the Nacochtank and the Patawomeck Indian tribes, was chosen over a dinner conversation between James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson in 1790. The city felt the contradictions of a nation based on freedom but built on coerced labor when President John and First Lady Abigail Adams moved into the White House and saw slaves finishing construction in 1800. During the War of 1812 British troops occupied then burned the White House as residents fled and prayed for safety and rain. The chambers of the Capitol Building heard the debates by the Great Triumvirate of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John Calhoun as they wrestled with the issues of slavery and secession. The city and nation have been forever enriched by a British journalist named Smithson who never visited America, but whose endowment became the Smithsonian Institution; and it's world famous museums now dot the Mall.

Abraham Lincoln - 2nd inauguration
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress - LC-USZ62-2578

President-elect Lincoln arrived in disguise for his first inauguration in 1861, and Ford's Theater witnessed his assassination in 1865. Standing as tall as our first President, the Washington Monument, after four decades of planning and construction, was completed in 1888. In 1901 the best architects America had to offer came from all parts of the country to redesign the city and in the process created a National Mall. Two brothers from Ohio, who proved that man could fly, opened an airport right outside of DC in College Park, MD. The Sewall-Belmont House retains the Quaker spirit of Alice Paul who battled and beat President Wilson for the right of women to vote. During the Great Depression the streets of Anacostia saw American troops fight American veterans when World War I veterans marched on Washington to demand their bonus pay. As the nation went to war in Europe and the Pacific, FDR chose the design for the Pentagon, and ground was broken on September 11, 1941. At the height of the Cold War, while the House on Un-American Activities Committee hearings were held in the city, the infamous "pumpkin papers" of Alger Hiss were discovered on Whittaker Chambers' Farm in nearby Maryland. Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in neighboring Silver Spring, Maryland, and helped create the environmental movement, which celebrates Earth Day in front of the Capitol. Journalists from the Washington Post followed the money from a hotel called the Watergate and brought down an administation. The events of 9/11 affected the people of DC as the Pentagon was hit, rumors spread, and smoke could be seen from the eternal flame at Arlington Cemetery.

Presidents Wilson and Taft at Wilson's inauguration
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress - LC-USZ62-13190

Over the years, the National Mall became our soapbox as millions of people from all corners of our nation gathered to protest, to celebrate, to tell our stories, and most of all to participate in this great experiment called democracy. Every place tells the story of the people who were there. On January 20th, the people of our country will once again come together in our shared space to mark a new chapter in our shared history, with the inauguration of a new President.

Welcome to your Washington.







[graphic] Link to [graphic] National Park Service  Arrowhead and link to [graphic] National Park Service Arrowhead and link to