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Lincoln Peterson House



Lincoln Photo: a fantastic Lincoln Photograph Featuring Peterson House

Photograph Taken On Saturday, November 7, 2020


Ford's Theatre is one of the 20 or so NPS sites in Washington, D.C. The site consists of the theatre, a museum below the floor of the theatre, and the Peterson House across the street (which, from what I can tell, is, has been, and always will be closed to the public, in spite of what the fine employees here tell me). So, I'll start in reverse order. The Peterson House and theatre are across the street from one another (on 10th Street NW between E & F Streets NW). It's the house where President Lincoln was rushed sometime around 11:00 p.m. on the night of 14 April 1865 after being shot in the back of the head at close range by John Wilkes Booth. The theatre itself is all...well...fake. Why? After Lincoln was assassinated, there was a huge public uproar/outcry when Ford wanted to reopen the theatre and actually earn a living. God forbid. Everyone that it was sacrilegious, disrespectful, whatever. So, its life as a theatre was over (for about 75 years, anyway). But, what to do with a large building in a prime location of downtown Washington, D.C.? Answer: turn it into an office building. It was gutted completely, had extra floors/storage added in (without being properly constructed). This led to another catastrophe. There was a collapse that killed a handful of folks due to the slipshod construction. After that, it was decided that it should be a theatre again -- and it's still an active theatre with four or so productions per year. I suppose what you see is faithfully recreated (at least I'd like to hope so, and they've certainly done their best to make it so), but you stand in the theatre and...can never seem to forget that you're in a recreated theatre. The museum below is informative and well-presented. It has information about life in the city in the 1860s, about those close to Lincoln, about Booth and those who conspired with him to bring down the government. They even have the actual Deringer -- a .44 caliber one shot pistol -- that Booth used to kill Lincoln. All in all, the museum is worth a visit, especially for history buffs. It costs $3 (and you have to purchase tickets ahead of time, preferably online). You show up at your timed entry, they start you with the museum, then climb up stairs on the far side of the museum for a quick look at the theatre. (In an ideal world, you would then go to the Peterson House.) The whole visit takes less than an hour. Close to an hour if you stop and read every last word on every last exhibit. If you just breeze through, you'll miss things, but can see what you need to in about 15-20 minutes. Personally, if this is your only visit you should try to read all you can.View image on Flickr

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