With only four and a half days in Washington D.C. I was keen to take in as much American history as I could. I had been recommended to visit Ford’s Theatre and the Petersen House, where Lincoln’s legacy lives on. We visited on a Sunday and so the China Town area, where the theatre and house are situated, was quieter than it probably was on other days. But that was actually quiet nice as we were able to walk around freely without worrying about the traffic. We had tried to book our tickets on line several times but we couldn’t get the website to work, so we took our chance and turned up for the 11am tour. Luckily there were tickets left, these were free but you are encouraged to make a donation to the theatre.
The weather hadn’t cooled down and so rather than wait in the heat, we had a perusal of the theatre shop and stayed in the cool building as long as we could. Around the reception are there are a number of things to see all relating to Lincoln or performances at the theatre. We didn’t have to wait in line long before we were allowed in to our timed tour.
The tour starts by viewing an extensive exhibition of Lincoln which is situated below the theatre. This includes models, artefacts and scripts that give you a good plotted history of Lincoln’s Presidency and the fateful night that he was shot in the theatre.
We were then led back to the theatre where you are told about that fateful night when Lincoln was shot. I thought the lady who presented this was very engaging, she spent up to 45 minutes describing in detail what happened to Lincoln and I felt that I was there on the night, she was that descriptive. I really got lost in the story and there were a couple of moments, when she was describing when Lincoln was shot, that I got goose bumps.
The second part of the tour takes you to the Petersen House, across the road from Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln was taken after he was shot and subsquently pass away days later.
As the house is quite small we did have to wait approximately 15 minutes before we could enter, as only ten people can enter at any one time. As we made our way into the house you are guided to the left into the living room. This flows through into the hall and to the bedroom where Lincoln was taken. The house at the time was a guest house and so the rooms had the required furnishings, but due to the low ceiling it felt small.
As you make your way upstairs you go past lots of newspaper reports from the time and are led to a replica of Lincoln’s coffin. There are then lots of boards which give more history to Lincoln and what happened after his death.
Finally you are greeted by a tower of all the books, to date, that have been written about Lincoln. Winding down the staircase you come to the shop where you can buy souvenirs of the theatre, Washington D.C. and Lincoln.
Stepping out onto the street, after two hours tour, I really felt I’d learned a lot more about Lincoln. I’d definitely recommend a visit to these two historic places, it is not time consuming and you will see and learn more about American history. If I visit Washington D.C. again, I’d very much like to take in a performance at Ford’s Theatre, even the American President goes once a year.
Next on our sightseeing schedule this day was the White House.
Lula Belle x