On this day in history, George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States on the balcony of Federal Hall. Over two centuries have passed since then, but we’ll soon be partying like it’s 1789 all over again. During The First Annual George Washington Inaugural Ball at Federal Hall, guests will have the opportunity to try historic food and drink, and enjoy period entertainment! As part of the perks for Untapped Cities Insiders, we were able to grab free spots for the event. They’re now booked out, but you can sign up to be an Untapped Cities member to explore some of New York City’s most inaccessible places with us! Otherwise, there are still tickets left for the event via www.gwinauguralball.com.
In anticipation for the ball (and in honor George Washington’s legacy, of course), National Park Service volunteer and hostess of the event, Lindsey R. Mullholand, has shared 10 fun facts about his inauguration:
10. Crowds Gathered to See and Greet Washington on His Journey to New York
George Washington’s entry into New York. Photo via Wikimedia: The Library of Congress
After being unanimously chosen to be the first President of the United States, former secretary of the Continental Congress Charles Thomson was dispatched to deliver the news to George Washington at his home in Virginia, Mount Vernon.
Thomson left Tuesday, April 7th, 1789 and arrived at Mount Vernon at 12:30pm on Tuesday, April 14, 1789. After being presented with the news, and accepting the position, President elect George Washington, Secretary Charles Thomson and Colonel David Humphreys (his aide-de-camp) set out for New York on April 16, 1789.
His neighbors near Mount Vernon were the first to join the presidential cavalcade as they passed through town. The journey continued to taverns, dinners, banquets and toasts in Alexandria, Georgetown, Bladensburg, Baltimore, Havre de Grace, Charlestown, Elton, Wilmington, Chester, Philadelphia, Trenton, Princeton, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Rahway (Bridgetown), Elizabeth-Town and Elizabeth-Town Point until boarding a barge rowed by 13 men wearing white uniforms and black caps ornamented with fringes. They were at the oars of the barge, which embarked to Murray’s Wharf at the base of Wall Street in New York City.
The most fascinating accounts are those of the ladies and girls of Trenton. Dressed in white, they sang songs and tossed flowers as George Washington proceeded through a specially-constructed arch in town. Painter Charles Wilson Peale made a similar attempt by covering a bridge and structure of evergreen and laurel at Gray’s Ferry near Philadelphia.
Vice President John Adams had a similar journey made from his home in Braintree, MA; stopping through Hartford, CT and New Haven, CT on his way to New York City.