Thursday, November 6, 2014

Postcards From Washington, D.C. - Lincoln Day (Part 2)

Plaque outside the Petersen House
We continued our Washington, D.C. day that was devoted to everything Abe Lincoln after visiting the Ford's Theater where he was assassinated, by crossing the street and entering the Petersen House.  

After John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln and then so flamboyantly made his Tarzan-like exit by swinging down and across the stage, Lincoln was taken across the street to the Petersen House for medical evaluation and care.

At the time the Petersen House was a boarding home.  After the chaos of the shooting, they simply needed a place to take Lincoln that was out of the frenzy, and the Petersen house landlord yelled across that "you can bring him over here."

Passing through the various rooms in the Petersen House, we learned about Lincoln's final moments.  It was determined that his injury was mortal, and so he was laid in a bed there, and kept as comfortable as possible for his last hours.

The front sitting room, where guests were first received
That night the Petersen home was not under the control of Mr. and Mrs. Peterson.  They and their tenants were removed from the main living quarters and bedrooms, and they slept in the basement that night.  Soldiers were placed at the entrances and on the roof to maintain some sense of order and control.  Even so, during that long night over 90 people passed through the house to pay their last respects to the dying president.

Rear bedroom - turned into an interview/meeting/information collecting office that night
Lincoln died in this next bedroom early the next morning, on April 15, 1865, shortly after 7:00 AM.

Of course, the first thought that came to my head when I saw where Lincoln died, was whether or not that was the ACTUAL bed in which he died.  Sadly, no.  Although the three rooms in the house that are open for public viewing are furnished today in 1865 period pieces, none of the furniture is original to the house.  But, that bed you see in the photo IS in the EXACT location of where Lincoln took his last breath.

Adjacent to the Petersen House, and included in the Ford's Theatre ticket package, is the Center for Education and Leadership.  In there we saw exhibits exploring the aftermath of the assassination, the hunt for John Wilkes Booth, and the lasting impact of Lincoln's legacy.

I found the galleries related to the topic of Leadership particularly inspiring.  Here are a few photos from that area:

Abraham Lincoln quote

As we were nearing the exit from the Educational Center, we descended several flights of stairs spiraling around this unique display.  These are all the books that have been written to date about Abraham Lincoln.  If you look down at the man sitting below, it will give you the true perspective of how large this tower of books really is.  (Silly me - I immediately thought of that game "Jenga" and wondered if the whole thing would collapse if I reached out and removed one book.)

Tomorrow we leave on another roadtrip, so I'll report on the remainder of our Lincoln day later.  We're heading to western Ohio to visit with this little cutie, grandchild number five.  

Gabriel, 6 months
I plan to stock up on plenty of huggles and snuggles.  In fact, I'm unashamed to admit it - I plan to completely overdose.

Next Washington, D.C. post:  Lincoln Day (Part 3)  
                                                A show at the Ford's Theatre - "Driving Miss Daisy"


  1. Such a wonderful man, Lincoln was, and still remains an example to us all.

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