This is the first known photo of a presidential inauguration.
It was taken March 24, 1857, during President James Buchanan's inauguration. The photographer was John Wood, the photographer for the Architect of the Capitol.
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The Capitol dome and modern houses of Congress were still under construction. The crowd in the photo is standing on a wooden platform above the yard.
The picture was taken at the east front of the Capitol. Modern inaugurations are held on the opposite side of the building.