Lots to see and do for Lincoln fans in Washington
A visit to Ford's and the Petersen House reveals fascinating details of the crime: The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, an actor as famous in his day as Justin Bieber or George Clooney, walked right up to the box where Lincoln was sitting and shot him in the head. He then leapt to the stage, ran out and fled by horse. Booth was hunted down and shot in a barn 12 days later. A plaque marks the site of a nearby boardinghouse where conspirators were said to have plotted the assassination; the building at 604 H St. (originally 541 H St.) is now a restaurant. The boardinghouse owner, Mary Surratt, was hanged.
Within 16 months of the assassination, Ford's Theatre closed and the federal government bought the building. The interior was ripped out and turned into offices. In 1933, the National Park Service acquired the building as a site of historic significance. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson sanctioned the restoration of a working theater and the interior was recreated to look the way it did when Lincoln was shot. Every president since 1968 has attended a show here, though they now sit near the stage, not in the box. Exhibits at Ford's and at Petersen House include Booth's diary and pistol, Lincoln's shawl, campaign memorabilia and photos.
Located at 511 10th St., NW,
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