Celebrate George Washington's Inauguration...225 Years Later

It was 225 years ago this April 30 that George Washington was inaugurated as the country's first president. You can mark that occasion when the National Park Service celebrates it at Federal Hall National Memorial in New York City.

It was on April 30, 1789, at 26 Wall Street in New York City that George Washington became the first president of the newly created United States of America. The Park Service is celebrating that event with a wide range of activities appropriate for different ages and interests. All activities are designed to bring history to life and offer a glimpse of the society and pageantry that surrounded the first inauguration.

Popular programs returning this year include the "meet and greet with George Washington," a ranger-led talk on Washington and the re-enactment of the inauguration performed by representatives of St. Johns Lodge #1 of the Masons. New this year is the Ranger Reading and Junior Ranger program in the Grotto, which is geared for youth ages 8 to 12, although all are welcome.

"The highlight of this year's program will be a special panel discussion on 'George Washington and Religious Freedom in the New Nation,' " said Shirley McKinney, superintendent of Federal Hall National Memorial. "Not only is Federal Hall the site of the first presidential inauguration, it is the site where the Bill of Rights was drafted, which enshrined the right to freedom of religion. This panel is an exciting opportunity to see how the politically powerful and popular George Washington and the society he lived in shaped America's views on this important topic."

From 1 to 3 p.m. on April 30, the panel, which consists of representatives from denominations that were present in New York City in 1789, will discuss the political and religious climate and attitudes at the time Washington became president. Also present will be a descendent of Rabbi Mendes Seixas, who will read letters between Washington and Seixas affirming religious freedom for all. Rabbi Seixas was in attendance at Washington's inauguration.

And, at any time during the day's programming, visitors can follow in Washington's footsteps with the self-guided walking tour through lower Manhattan of "Washington's New York." Copies may be picked up at the Visitor Center desk.

What: Commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the Inauguration of George Washington

Where: Federal Hall National Memorial, 26 Wall Street

When: April 30, 2014

10 a.m. –Ranger-led program "The Critical Years: 1783-1789" in the Zenger Gallery
11 a.m. – Meet and greet with George Washington (re-enactor Mike Grillo)
11 a.m. – Children of all ages are invited to become Junior Rangers and to attend a special reading in the Grotto
NOON – Representatives from the St. Johns Lodge #1 of the Masons are scheduled to conduct a re-enactment of George Washington's inauguration
1-3 p.m. – Special panel discussion: "George Washington and Religious Freedom in the New Nation."
1 p.m. – Children of all ages are invited to become Junior Rangers and to attend a special reading in the Grotto
Throughout the Day – The Old Barracks Fifes & Drums will perform 18th-century music