President Dwight D. Eisenhower is lassoed by cowboy star Montie Montana (with permission from the Secret Service) while reviewing the inaugural parade as Vice President Richard M. Nixon and other dignitaries look on on January 20, 1953.
Originally, the parade was meant to escort the President to the White House from the Capitol, but it soon developed into something more. Jefferson began the tradition of the open house. Americans could come directly into the White House and congratulate the President. Over time, the crowds became so enormous that President Jackson fled the crush through an open window.
By the time Grover Cleveland took office, the number of inaugural visitors was too large to manage, and so Cleveland had parade stands set up outside, where he could review the troops. Over time, this the review came to include floats and other civilian contributions. For Clinton’s second inauguration, the parade featured floats, choirs, and marching bands from all 50 states.