Abraham Lincoln began his first term as the 16th president of the United States in a ceremony held on the Capitol’s east portico. About 25,000 people watched as Lincoln was sworn in Monday March 4, 1861. Lincoln left the Capitol and went to the White House, traveling in a carriage down Pennsylvania Avenue under tight security. Later that evening, the new president and his wife left the executive mansion for the traditional inaugural ball.
Many of the sites associated with Lincoln’s inauguration were permanent buildings: The Capitol; Willard’s Hotel (where the Lincolns stayed before the ceremonies); Pennsylvania Avenue; and, the White House. One piece of pop-up architecture that did not survive beyond the spring of 1861 was the ballroom where the Lincolns and their guests danced into the night of March 4, 1861. Continue reading