Collage of three D.C. plates.

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Mayoral Inauguration License Plates
A Series of Special Event, Limited-Use Plates

The inauguration of the first elected mayor of the District of Columbia in more than 100 years occurred on January 2, 1975. Eight years later, in 1983, the first mayoral inauguration license plates were issued to comemmorate the second inauguration of Mayor Marion Barry. Special D.C. plates have been issued for only five inaugurations, those of 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, and 1999. On each of these occasions they were available for purchase by the general public, but could be registered for use only upon vehicles then presently registered in Washington, D.C. All mayoral inauguration plates are all 6" x 12", embossed aluminum, and were produced in pairs.

1983 Mayoral Inauguration plate no. 7
1983
Mayor Marion Barry
1,000 pairs made.
March 15, 1983 expiration date indicated on registration certificate.
   
197 Mayoral Inauguration plate no. I-8
1987
Mayor Marion Barry
Less than 1,000 pairs made, all have an I prefix.
"EXPIRES 3-87" sticker provided for use on vehicles registered in Washington, D.C.
   

1991 Mayoral Inauguration plate no. 210

1991 Mayoral Inauguration plate no. BRYAN

1991
Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon
Less than 1,000 pairs made; vanity plates available.
"EXPIRES 3-31-91" sticker provided for use on vehicles registered in Washington, D.C.
   
1995 Mayoral Inauguration plate no. I-111
1995
Mayor Marion Barry
Less than 1,000 pairs made, all have an I prefix.
"EXPIRES 3-31-95" printed in lower right corner.
   

1999 Mayoral Inauguration plate no. 37

1999 Mayoral Inauguration plate no. G

1999
Mayor Anthony Williams
Less than 1,000 pairs made; vanity plates available.
"EXPIRES 3-31-99" sticker provided for use on vehicles registered in Washington, D.C.

Historical Information About Washington and the Office of Mayor

When the Constitution was adopted on Sept. 15, 1787, it included language that authorizes the establishment of a federal district that was to not exceed 10 miles square (or 100 square miles) in land area and was to be under the exclusive legislative authority of Congress. On July 16, 1790, Congress authorized Pres. George Washington to select a permanent site for the capital city of the United States someplace along the east bank of the Potomac River. Philadelphia was the capital city when the Constitution was adopted, but the Founding Fathers clearly intended to have established a separate federal district where the nation's government would be headquartered.

On Jan. 24, 1791, President Washington selected a site along the Potomac that included portions of Maryland on the east bank and Virginia on the west. Together the parcels of land were very close to 10 miles square. On Dec. 1, 1800, the seat of government of the United States was officially moved from Philadelphia to the new district, which was then officially referred to as the City of Washington in the territory of Columbia. The census of 1800 showed that the new capital city had a population of 14,103.

On July 9, 1846, Congress passed a law that returned nearly all of the land on the Virginia side of the Potomac River to that state. Today, only a small area on the west side of the Potomac is part of the District of Columbia, such as land comprising and federal parks surrounding the Pentagon and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

A number of different forms of government have been used to manage the city of Washington over the past 200+ years:

On Jan. 2, 1975, Walter P. Washington became the first elected mayor of Washington, D.C. in more than 100 years. Marion Barry took office as the second elected mayor on Jan. 2, 1979, and for his second inauguration, in 1983, Mayor Barry authorized the issuance of the first mayoral inauguration license plates in the District of Columbia.

1983 Mayoral Inauguration registration certificate
This 1983 mayoral inauguration plate registration certificate was issued with the sample plate shown on the Special Events page.


Charlie Gauthier, a Washington, D.C. native who now resides in Northern Virginia, is an expert on the subject of D.C. special event license plates. DCplates.com appreciates his work in preparing this page and his willingness to share his fine collection of mayoral inauguration plates and related items. For additional information about these special event plates or to provide more information about or images of them, send an e-mail to Mr. Gauthier at Charlie@DCplates.com .



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This page last updated on January 1, 2017

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