Obama Inauguration Parade Fun Facts: FDR Actually Cancelled His Parade

Some fun facts about the inaugural parade, assembled from the official White House press packet and Timetoast:

1789: George Washington walks in the first-ever inaugural parade!


1837: President Martin Van Buren is the first to include floats in the inaugural parade.


1853: Firemen refuse to march in Franklin Pierce’s parade after he fails to attend a ball in their honor; Pierce does not send his regrets.


1865: African Americans march for the first time in President Lincoln’s second inaugural parade.


1909: Helen “Nellie” Herron Taft becomes the first First Lady to ride with her husband in the parade – establishing a precedent which lasts to this day.


1917: President Woodrow Wilson incorporates the first women into the inaugural parade.


1921: Warren Harding is the first president to ride in an automobile to his inauguration.


1945: FDR cancels his 4th inaugural parade due to World War II.


1953: President Eisenhower’s inaugural parade is the largest and longest ever; he is said to be irritated after being lassoed by a cowboy watching from the sidelines.


1961: The Army Corps of Engineers and D.C. employees are forced to use dump trucks, snow plows, and flamethrowers to help clear the inaugural parade route for President John F. Kennedy of ice and snow following terrible weather.


1977: President Jimmy Carter walks the entire parade route, forgoing a vehicle.


1985: President Reagan’s inaugural parade is canceled, following the coldest weather ever recorded for that date.


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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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