10 Obscure Inauguration Tidbits

Which president was forgotten at his successor's ceremony?

By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 18, 2009 12:48 PM CST

(Newser) – Ahead of Tuesday’s inauguration, the Chicago Tribune compiles a list of the 10 best little known facts about ceremonies past.

  • George Washington had to borrow money to attend his own inauguration.
  • No, William Henry Harrison’s long-winded, “fatal” speech on a chilly morning in 1841 didn’t kill him, but his failure to wear a hat and overcoat probably didn’t help the pneumonia.

  • Officials forgot to pick up outgoing prez Franklin Pierce for James Buchanan’s inauguration.
  • Frosty temps during Ulysses Grant’s ceremony caused the food to freeze, violin strings to snap, and the death of 100 canaries.
  • Jackie Kennedy covered Dwight Eisenhower’s parade as the “Inquiring Camera Girl” for a DC paper.
  • Robert Frost dedicated his poem to “the president-elect, Mr John Finley,” er, Kennedy.
For the rest of the list, click the link below.

In this March 4, 1905 file photo, President-elect Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office on the east portico of the US Capitol during his inauguration ceremony in Washington.
In this March 4, 1905 file photo, President-elect Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office on the east portico of the US Capitol during his inauguration ceremony in Washington.   (AP Photo)
George Washington couldn't afford to attend his own inauguration on his own.
George Washington couldn't afford to attend his own inauguration on his own.   (Getty Images)
Fireworks explode January 18, 2001 over the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, VA during the Presidential Inaugural Opening Celebration that is held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
Fireworks explode January 18, 2001 over the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, VA during the Presidential Inaugural Opening Celebration that is held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)
The early morning sky brightens on the West Front of the Capitol during a rehearsal for the Inauguration Ceremony in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009.
The early morning sky brightens on the West Front of the Capitol during a rehearsal for the Inauguration Ceremony in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
In this March 4, 1861 file photo, President Abraham Lincoln stands under cover at his inauguration. The scaffolding at upper right is used in construction of the Capitol dome.
In this March 4, 1861 file photo, President Abraham Lincoln stands under cover at his inauguration. The scaffolding at upper right is used in construction of the Capitol dome.   (AP Photo, File)
The inauguration of Rutherford B. Hayes takes place in front of the Capitol on the East Portico in Washington, March 5, 1877.  The unfinished Washington Monument can be seen in far background.
The inauguration of Rutherford B. Hayes takes place in front of the Capitol on the East Portico in Washington, March 5, 1877. The unfinished Washington Monument can be seen in far background.   (AP Photo, File)
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