Aerial View of Franklin Roosevelt’s First Inauguration

Check out this amazing old photo of FDR’s inauguration and then compare it to this one of Eisenhower and this of Obama.

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Aerial view of U.S. Capitol and crowd on the grounds of the east front of the U.S. Capitol, during the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, March 4, 1933
Aerial view of U.S. Capitol and crowd on the grounds of the east front of the U.S. Capitol, during the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, March 4, 1933

Source: dullshick

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • Audrey Burtrum-Stanley

    These were such terrific photos! Now I am inspired!!! I wish you’d do a sort of feature on the Inaug. podium designs of past Presidents. My favorite is FDR’s first as the elaborate gilded eagle used for the apex of the design was just marvelous. The Inaug. Committees have gotten progressively more simplistic…(not counting the wee white table Lincoln used for his event.) Thanks for these birds-eye-views.

    • That could be interesting Audrey. I’ll see what I can dig up.

  • Publius Washingtoniensis

    Note the skylights over the Senate and House chambers in the 1933 photo. They were covered over in WW II as a security measure, and when the two chambers were reconstructed and air-conditioned after the war, they were eliminated. Historical accounts suggest that the natural lighting provided by the skylights was not the best — conveying the sense of being under water or in a deep hole with only dim daylight filtering through to the floor.

    • LZ126

      Quite a difference from the mock-up built for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” eh?

  • Audrey Burtrum-Stanley

    About those Inaug. podiums for a special feature collection…
    The one JFK used in 1961 was a bulky, big ole brown affair squat in the middle of all the ‘new 20th Century-born generation.’ It had been specially rigged with a small heater as the weather was dramatically cold. As the event progressed, the heater started to alarm those seated nearby on the stage (LBJ in particular). The heater was either smoke’n or producing flames at one point; Nearby drinking water had to be used to douse the thing.
    Sooooo, Mr. Ghosts — PLEASE, look up some of these podiums! Each seems to have been chosen to reflect the design(s) of the period. (Naturally, the entire ceremony has been flipped from the Eastern side to the far, farrrrr more elegant and inspiring Western side of the Capitol, starting with Reagan. Surprisingly, more and more bullet-proof glass is being used and everything is becoming ‘more transparent than a Jenkins Hill subcommittee investigation’ — HA!)