Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Inaugurations Gone Wrong!

As we lead into the inauguration, here are some worst case scenarios from the past! I choose the one that I actually hadn't heard before to share!
...the most tragic of inauguration horror stories happened in 1857, at James Buchanan’s ill-fated inauguration.

Buchanan’s fate was linked to an episode in 1857 called the National Hotel disease, an outbreak of an illness tied to pre- and post-inauguration activities that left at least 36 people dead.

In an eerie resemblance to the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Philadelphia a century later, guests who attended events at one of Washington’s biggest hotels came down with a mystery illness, and then died quickly or over the course of the following two years.

Buchanan himself contracted the disease twice and survived: once before his inauguration and once shortly after it. In both cases, he was at the hotel

Among the 36 fatalities were people who attended the official post-inauguration banquet at the hotel, including three U.S. congressmen.

Rumors spread that Buchanan had also died, but he recovered after spending the first weeks of his presidency in bed.

Today, experts believe inadequate sanitary conditions existed in the hotel, including problems with its sewage system. It was mostly people who ate at the hotel who became ill, while bar patrons showed no symptoms.

The hotel was demolished in the 1920s and now a tourist attraction, the Newseum, sits on its location.

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