Inauguration Fact: The Constitution does not dictate where the inauguration should happen.
Washington’s first inauguration took place in New York on a second-floor balcony of Federal Hall, with a crowd assembled in the streets below. Washington’s second inauguration and John Adams’s only inauguration were held in Philadelphia.
Even when the ceremony was held in the new capital city, the location still varied. Jefferson, the first President to be inaugurated in Washington, DC, took the oath twice in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol.
Starting with Andrew Jackson in 1829, inauguration ceremonies were held on the Capitol’s East Portico, but even that was not permanent. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fourth and final inauguration was a small, wartime ceremony held on the South Portico of the White House.
In 1981, Ronald Reagan became the first President to to take the oath of office on the West Portico of the Capitol, facing out onto the Mall.
Image Lyndon Johnson takes the Oath of Office as President of the United States on January 20, 1965, Johnson Presidential Library.