“The House Where Lincoln Died”
The Petersen House (House Where Lincoln Died) was the home of William and Anna Petersen. On the night of April 14, 1865 the mortally wounded president was carried to a back bedroom in this house. The Petersen family aided as they could, although on this night their home was no longer their own. Over 90 people would come and go through the house to pay their last respects to the dying president. Soldiers stood guard at the front door and were posted on the roof to keep the growing crowds at bay. While doctors cared for the president the Petersen family and some of the boarders spent the night in the basement. At 7:22 am, April 15, 1865, Abraham Lincoln died in the back bedroom of this humble house. Touring the Petersen House: The three rooms in the house today are furnished in 1865 period pieces, none of the furniture is original to the house. Visitors use the same ticket that they used to tour Ford's Theatre. The House is open 9:30 am to 5:30 pm daily. Visitors will now enter The Center for Education and Leadership from the back porch. Housed in a building directly across the street from Ford's Theatre and acquired by the Ford's Theatre Society in 2007, the Center features two floors of permanent exhibits addressing the immediate aftermath of Lincoln's death and the evolution of Lincoln's legacy; a Leadership Gallery floor to be used for rotating exhibits, lecture and reception space; and two floors of education studios to house pre- and post-visit workshops, after-school programs and teacher professional development.
Visited in mid-May 2014. Our tickets for Ford's Theater were later in the afternoon, so by the time we were finished at the Theater, the line for the Peterson House was incredibly long with field trip groups. It was also a cool, rainy day, so we debated waiting the estimated 45-60 minutes before entering, but I am thankful we decided to wait it out. The Peterson House is an incredible four stories, including the room where Lincoln died, the parlor where Mary Todd Lincoln waited for news, and three additional floors of historical items and displays. Displays include keepsakes from the funeral procession, condolences from around the world, the hoods and shackles of the conspirators as they awaited trial and eventual hanging, and Civil War-era daguerrotypes, weapons, and mementos. In essence, the Peterson House picks up where Ford's Theater leaves off - with the death of Lincoln, its impact on foreign nations and dignitaries, and the fate of those who collaborated in the death of the Great Emancipator. Well worth your time.
Tickets are required for entrance into Ford's Theatre and the Petersen House. For more information on purchasing tickets, visit http://www.nps.gov/foth/planyourvisit/feesandreservations.htm
For those families with young children who are interested in the National Park Service's Junior Ranger Program, children can earn a badge by completing a short booklet at the Ford's Theater and Peterson House. Ask the Park Ranger for details. Highly recommended.
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The Petersen House (The House Where Lincoln Died)
- Sun - Sat: 9:30 am - 5:30 pm
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