The first inaugural ball in Washington, DC, was held on March 4, 1809, on behalf of James Madison, the fourth president. It was held at Long's Hotel on Capitol Hill. Dancing started at 7 p.m. The U.S. Marine Band, which provided the music, has become a traditional feature at inaugurations.
The inaugural ball for James Buchanan was held in a building on Judiciary Square built for the occasion for $15,000. Six thousand guests drank $3,000 worth of wine and devoured 400 gallons of oysters, 60 saddles of mutton, four saddles of venison, 125 tongues, 75 hams, 500 quarts of chicken salad, 500 quarts of jellies, 1,200 quarts of ice cream, and a four-foot high cake.
An electric lamp hanging over the doorway to the 1881 inaugural ball of James A. Garfield, held at the Smithsonian Institution, was a novelty and intrigued the guests. John Philip Sousa conducted the U.S. Marine Band, which was one of two bands to entertain at the ball.
To accommodate all the guests, the number of balls has proliferated. Dwight Eisenhower had four balls, John Kennedy had five, Richard Nixon six, and Jimmy Carter, seven.
During Ronald Reagan's inauguration in 1981, 40 million jellybeans were eaten at the eight inaugural balls, which were televised by cable TV to inaugural parties around the nation. Reagan had begun nibbling his signature jellybeans in the 1960s when he quit smoking.
The weather was so cold during the second inauguration of Ulysses S. Grant that the valves on the band's musical instruments froze during the ball, and guests danced with their coats on.
These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
More Inaugural Trivia
Some follow up inaugural trivia, this set about inaugural balls: