At just under 2 miles from the Capitol,and three blocks from the White House,the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church hopes to make life a little easier for a few thousand people by having an open house from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday.
Cookies,coffee,tea and hot chocolate will be available. The church will have its restrooms open to the public as well. Visitors won’t miss out on the inauguration if they’re at the church because there will be televisions tuned to the events of the day. About 40 volunteers are expected to help out,including 15 people who will give tours of the historic parts of the church.
The church is known for its history in American politics and religion. President Abraham Lincoln went to the church on the first Sunday after his inauguration in 1861. He attended the church frequently,and there is now a Lincoln Chapel and a Lincoln Parlor on the first floor of the church. Both of the rooms will be available for viewing Monday. A draft of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and a couch he sat on during church services can be seen in the rooms.
This isn’t the first time the church has opened its doors on such a busy day in the District. In 2009,it held an inaugural open house. About 2,000 people came through the church that day,said Paul Dornan,the chair of the church’s Evangelism Committee,who was at the open house four years ago.
“I think more people will probably know about it this time than four years ago. But there are going to be less people in town because it’s a second inaugural,” Dornan said.
Mary Newman,the church receptionist,is looking forward to Monday and expecting things to go smoothly. “I’m used to people coming and going all day. It’s going to be really nice. It’s going to be exciting,” she said.
With an expected lower turnout for the second inauguration,the volunteers are planning to make fewer cookies. Cardboard cutouts of Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama will be outside the church Monday for people to take pictures with.
Reach reporter Amy Slanchik at [email protected] or 202-326-9865. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.