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tv   National Building Museum and Inaugural Balls  CSPAN  January 15, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm EST

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changesmake these hard and they involved straight up raising taxes, cutting benefits, performing entitlements. >> tonight at it :00 eastern on c-span's q and a. ♪ the presidential inauguration of donald trump is friday. c-span will have live coverage of all the days events and ceremonies. watch live on c-span, and listen live on the free c-span radio app. each week, american history tvs american artifacts visits
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historic places and museums. the national buildings me see him in washington dc was known as the pensions building in 1885, when grover cleveland's inaugural ball was held in the building. composed of 15 million red bricks, it contains a red hall that is 316 feet long, and 160 feet tall. tv visited they building to learn about the inaugural balls of several presidents, including jimmy carter, ronald reagan and barack obama. for joining us today and welcome to the national tilting wheezy him. i am a volunteer toward a guide for the museum. we are here to go through what we call the presidential inaugural tors. we do this every four years at inauguration time. , which was built as a federal office building turned out to be a wonderful place to have in inaugural
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balls. what we want to do is explain to you how this building got dealt, its history and how it ended up being so representative of the and how it ison, being used. we will show you pictures of inaugural balls and the history of them. we will put the two together and show the pictures of how this space looks when in an operational ball is occurring in it. we will show you where most of the presidents have had a all in this space. we are here and a space that is unusual in terms of washington dc. it has monuments of marble and white. unusual see it as an building the way it was built. the building museum was designed a number of years ago to try to celebrate the built world. in,y structure that we live praywe work in, that we
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in, worship in, study in, had to be imagined by somebody, designed by somebody, told by somebody and maintained by somebody. the museum was designed to celebrate the accomplishments of the people who do all of that work. to show all of the things they do will me have exhibits all of the time, to explain the built world. built world was dependent on a particular independent will -- individual. it was an army general. general picture of the in his civil war uniform. he was a remarkably adept engineer and architect who built both civilian and military facilities in and around the united states for the 1800s. was a graduate of west point in 1836, with a background in engineering and architecture.
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when he first started working and was commissioned as a military officer he were on building forts. 1840's, he came to the washington dc area and help design the aqueduct which takes water from the potomac into the city of washington. it was built 150 years ago and is still viable and useful today. he then worked on the extensions of the capitol building, and figured out a way to help build a capital dome that we know today. biggest contribution was, during the civil war he became the quartermaster general for the union forces and was responsible for all the acquisition and material moved around by the northern forces during the civil war. one of the features of the civil the intended -- unintended consequence, disabled veterans.
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today's terminologies the word tension is used as a retirement think for civilians and military. those days it was only focused on disabled veterans. that paystradition the disabled veterans some kind of removing your ace -- remuneration after they serve. states picked up the funding for paying pensioners. one of the reasons when they built the constitution, they wanted to pick up the federal government to pay the pensions for the civil war for the revolutionary war for disabled veterans. influx of disabled veterans overpowered what had become the pension bureau. in 1880 one, after complaints for the disabled veterans, congress decided to build a single building to consolidate
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all the support to these disabled veterans. amazingropriated an in those days00 to build a single building. they named the quartermaster to be the architect and engineer for this building. one requirement was that it would be inexpensive, and secondly it had to be fireproof. because of the general's background as an engineer, but he had come from a background in which his father was a physician. he was interested in a third requirement to make the building open for the workers who would be here. he was not vital during the times of the civil war. he went to italy and studied architecture over there. when he came back and had this , he went back to his experience in italy, and his
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admiration for a italian renaissance architecture. he used italian architecture as the model for building this building. one of the facilities he looked -- which was built in rome in the early parts of the 1500s. the 16th century roman architecture, three stories. a very distinct pattern of these alternating curves and rectangular's all over the top. he decided to use that as the model for the outside. he realized he would have to put a roof on it up here, because this was to be a covered building. this is a four sided building with an open courtyard in the center. that is what he started from. he took exactly the same pattern of windows and window pediments, extended them out here and put
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this enormous building, which consumed almost a city block. it is 400 feet long, 200 feet 0ide and raises to the top 16 feet from the base. it was the biggest brick building in the world. the used over 15 and a half million bricks to build the outside of the building. it shows, if you go outside, you will see it is very different. it is quite striking in the city of marble and white to see this particular kind of holding. the second part of the problem was to build the interior. for that he did a different kind , but still italian renaissance. that is what we are looking at today. the building he built inside, which was patterned after a , which we havezo a photograph of here.
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if we get the right angle of a here, if you could see with that looks like, and how very similar the arches, pediments, windows are all looking back in here. he enlarged it. this was an open courtyard. he had to figure out how to cover a large expanse of this space. this space inside here is almost as big as a football field. andfeet long, 116 feet wide completely covered, but completely open. as a result of that, coincidentally, not design for that, but ended up with the largest covered space in this part of town. 1880's,s built in the 1885, 1887. his design had problems. trying to put a roof on it became an issue because of the large space. in those days it masonry and would not cover those
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expansions. he was able to devise a fairly new cast iron, and some steel to build a roof over this thing. what we are seeing is under peoplection, and these are this -- pieces are the structure that will hold the roof itself. they were put in place in about 1885. they are the same shutter we see today. that is the original material still in place. to the roofing problem, he had to support the roof in the middle. columns into put in the middle to be able to support the roofing. there he decided to go to another facility in rome, which was a church, and build enormous corinthian columns. tof them individually support the center part of the ceiling.
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those look to be marble, they are not. they are part of that pic. each has 70,000 bricks in them. they have been plasteredthose or and painted to look like marble. we call them marble lysing -- arblizing. people from the pension bureau started to move and while it was can shut inc.. president grover cleveland was about to be inaugurated. somebody decided this would be a great space to have an inaugural ball for grover cleveland. we have a picture of the building still under construction in 1885. with the in columns you could see the bricks. here, they are left over from the another girl ball. because there was no roof, they had to pay temporary roof. they had to put a wood floor down temporarily to be able to use it.
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when it was done, it went back and they begin to use it as part of the pension bureau and finishing up the construction. when the construction was underway, one of the things he tried to do was to make it healthy. foras not making open space another girl ball, he did it to be healthy. the windows that we see at the ball, he brought windows to bring light into's -- inside office spaces. they had windows to the outside and with all of the window light coming in from the inside, the headlight pulled ways. she had to make all those window so they could open and so there could throw here and outside of the room. if you go outside of the building, there are three missing bricks. he intentionally did that to allow airflow through the spaces then out and up there. this is a diagram of the notion of how this was going to have natural ventilation. from outside the walls here into
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the space, and out the upper story windows. he claimed that he may test after the building was completed. the air circulation was replaced in about two minutes. without any kind of artificial enterprise. -- on the workforce and relies there was far fewer days that they lost. that is the structure of the history of the building itself. i will like to go towards talking about how it came, and how it looked at the inaugural ball. a number of balls go back to george washington. the first president in 1789 had a party after his inauguration. the united states was not in washington, it was in new york city. the party was there. by 1793, the party moved to philadelphia, which had become
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the capital at that moment in time until the structures were built here in washington dc. time, washington was identified as the capital city, but was under construction. this is not a place you could do that. he liked parties, although martha was not there because she -- was not there. when john adams became president he decided he would have no parties. the first ball that we know of that was in this town was president madison in 1809. the first part they had was in a hotel. parties years they had and sometimes called a ball and sometimes called a party. it was not until the late 1840's that he really begin to get into event of of having an
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special nature. they started to build temporary buildings for a part of that. one of the things about the inauguration, the constitution is very clear about how the president will assume power. it says explicitly in the 20th amendment that he will do it on january 20, and there is the appointed oath of office that he has. the wonderful 37 word thing that he requires to preserve and protect the constitution. >> i ronald reagan do solemnly swear. >> that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states. >> and will to the best of my ability. preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states.
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so help me god. >> congratulations sir. [applause] the rest of the events are up to the president and his staff. they could do it anyway they want. inely, it has been a pattern which the president after being sworn in gives the inaugural speech. he has lunch with the congress people. he comes at a parade down pennsylvania avenue to the white house. then comes the evening events. during the evening events we see the inaugural ball. there could be 1, 5, as many as 14 balls. hadident clinton in 1993 14, which is a record at the present time. frequently there are six or seven. it depends on the president, resources available, and sometimes on the weather. it is up to them, the nature and
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timing and expense of these. they can have them very simple.e or very we'll go to some of these as we go on. let me show you a picture of one of the early aunts -- early ones. a ball, by definition is nothing more than a formal gathering for social dancing. that is the webster dictionary definition of what a ball is. wewas started, as far as know, probably in the 16th, 17th century in france. the louis the 14th started to minuets.the we have images of those in that period of time. it was in the western european culture and was carried minuets. into the united states at the very beginning. it became more attractive as we got more economically involved, and we had more facilities that can handle this kind of a party. this is a party that we mentioned. you will see people formally
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dressed and there will be things like chandeliers. there will be flower arrangements, and then there's -- banners. they were natural in europe, but not natural here in the united states. lincoln's sketch of 1861 and not girl party -- inaugural party president grant 1869, you can see there was a balcony and a chandelier. the men are formally dressed in taxi does and the women have downs. that is a typical pattern. ,n grants second inauguration four years later, again within a temporary building within the area. in the temporary building it got very cold. the use canaries as part of the decorations. canaries cold that the
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succumbed to the cold. they all died. at that point in time they said it was probably better to get a better heated to place and move it inside. i that time, we are getting to the point in 1885, with this building is partially complete and grover cleveland is inaugurated. the buildingage of in which was still being called the pension building. this was grover cleveland's first inauguration, 1885 in the new pension building. thecan see the formal gown, formal wear, military officers and their formal uniforms and the women again in downs. just -- but tradition is at the women's gowns become very important of what the inauguration ball will look like. one thing we mentioned about the roof appear is, it is by coincidence an industrial loop inside an italian renaissance
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building with arches and ionic and corinthian colleges. one of the things we see people doing over the years was somehow screening that roof. this is a pitcher in 1897 of the inaugural preparations. you could see the huge columns. they have been decorated, lots of floral arrangements. they have put streamers over the ceiling to cover that industrial roof. 1901.s one in mckinley's they begin to introduce electric lights. in some of these events they would actually hang chandeliers down in these three major sections to make it look like in our name environment. environment. in the first era was in 1909 with president taft. he was the last one that had it
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here. by the time we got to 1913, which was president wilson, he would have none of it again. he was like john adams. he decided it was too expensive and wanted nothing to do with it. of time thereiod were no balls until we got past world war ii to president nixon. let's go upstairs and taken another look at what this place might look like. [applause] we're standing in the first level of the building. it turned out that when general gs realize what was going on, he realized there was room to add another level. he constructed a design, another level and that is what you are looking at now. it is the extra rope railing and balcony he added to provide
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access to the upper spaces. these levels do not have windows to the outside. the only have windows, skylights and the light that is coming in from the windows at the top. the levele bottom on floor, we were talking about last oft taft being the the particular era from 1885 to 1909. the large columns in the middle. this is from probably the second level up. we are at the fourth level. to shift gears a little bit, one of the features of the inaugural ball has become the gowns worn by the first lady. there are many of them. this is one of the more elaborate ones. at the moment in time, this was helen taft in 19 09 of the gorgeous gown that she wore.
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those familiar with gowns is that it was probably the most gorgeous inaugural down that had been worn in history. many of them are available in the smithsonian institutions. museum of american history. that becomes a theme for all the inaugural events, how is the first lady dressed? not want wilson did them, then came world war i, then came the depression. and really speaking, there was not an issue of having a elaborate balls through that period of the 1900s. after the vietnam war, and president nixon decided to re-institute having an inaugural balls in this building. we have a break in here of about 50 years. now begin back to 1973, here is a picture of the space when president nixon. at the bottom, here is the
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outside of the wonderful brick building. here.ent nixon's pictures here, you can clearly see the with the the building stage down here and many of the participants in that event along here. to show with this would look like in 1973. from that time on, every president has had a ball here. there is not a ball, there are numerous balls that are conducted during that period of time. there is an official set and an unofficial set. them, stateshave have them, universities have them all around town. during that weekend there will be inaugural balls. there is only the official one that is sanctioned by the innovaro committee. here is -- inaugural committee.
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here is president carter. there is only the official one that is sanctioned bypresident g because he was more of the populace. he wanted to have the popular people's inauguration. he was the first one to walk from the capitol building all the way to the white house. invited 300,000 people to various offense of what he thand parties, rather calling them balls around town. including this space here. he did not have been use, he did not have a formal meal. people snacked on peanuts and pretzels. low-key thanmore some of the ones that were prior to that. now we moved to president reagan in 1981. now we have pictures of the setup. this is the beginning of the set up for president reagan's event here in 1981. you can see the space is really
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-- the fountain down there is covered over and not used at all for these events. it becomes the dance floor for the president, in many cases. that was stage one, just beginning to set it up. there is another photograph of it further along. or my fingerhe top is, you can see they have covered over the industrial roof with sheets. that hides that a little bit. isally, reagan's 1981, this the actual event going on with a full-blown, very patriotic theme used for the entire inaugural event for this building. the president and first lady came and danced here. they repeated that four years later heard this is a picture of president reagan and mrs. reagan in the building. you can clearly identify the columns.
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it is very recognizable where the event is being stage. he is standing on a platform that is over that fountain. president and mrs. bush. the first president bush and barbara bush. columns, these are wonderful identifications because we can see where they are standing when that happens. president and mrs. clinton in this one. very similar to what they did in 1993. again, here in the building. very patriotic clean. this room lent itself to patriotic themes. here are two pictures, this one is the first inauguration. this is not in the building, but this is the second president bush and laura bush is beautiful gown in 2001. 2005.hey are dancing in you can see the no columns in
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this one. you can see that very distinctive carpeting in the background that shows that the space they are dancing on is where the fountain is. with the presidential seal on top of it. finally we get to president and mrs. obama. here is the picture of the .acility again decorated in a very patriotic fashion. president bush and president obama chose to make and highlight this particular site as calling get the commander and chief inaugural ball. it was dedicated in both cases to the members of the armed forces. ♪ gene: this is quite typical of
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what inaugural balls can do. the people were have worked so hard for the president to get them elected. they can be open to the citizen .ury when andrew was president he opened up the white house. he was trashed as a result of that. he wanted a very populous people kind of event. tos has become tradition turn this into the commander and chief's. the president and first lady and her down, the gowns become extremely important. the designers compete for designs of the gowns. in this particular case we are told that the designer was not told she would wear this. the first he found out was when he saw this honor. he donated and it is in the smithsonian. here is a president and first lady dancing here and the building again. you could see the military honor
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guard in the background. it is interesting, in the foreground we can see people taking pictures. that is what it looks like. that is the story of the national building museum, how it the to be an installed in pension building. its purpose is to celebrate the built world, and how that built world started out as a government office building has come to represent the inaugural events of each president for the last 40 years. next on american history tv, we look at the history of white house transitions with terry walters, former white house chief usher from 1980 62 2000 seven. he talks about the work of the


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