Ford’s Theater TourRoad Trip Stops . Washington DC . Washington DC
Ford’s Theater Tour
On Day Six of our Washington DC road trip, my son and I did the Ford’s Theater tour. Ford’s Theater is where former President Abraham Lincoln was sitting and enjoying a show when John Wilkes Booth shot him behind the ear.
I probably never would have found the theater had I not researched things to do in the area beforehand. I found this stop from our hotel room the night before. At the time, I had only used Roadtrippers once and wasn’t familiar with how to really find cool places. So, we had abandoned our itinerary already by this point because we found much more interesting things to do than originally planned.
Ford’s Theater definitely did not disappoint. The museum portion of it was a bit cramped and dark, most of my pictures didn’t come out well. But it was interesting to see and learn about the history of that president and what led up to his assassination.
The theater was absolutely gorgeous, and it was fascinating seeing the actual booth that Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot. That may sound morbid, sorry. I am a visual person and the history that I do remember comes from the places I’ve visited and what I saw and learned while visiting. This is one of them. I learned about Lincoln’s assassination in school, sure, but this made it real.
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About Ford’s Theater Tour
The site which Ford’s Theater resides on started off in 1833 as First Baptist Church. The church was erected by a multiracial congregation which split in 1839 into a white church and an African American church. The site was occupied by the First Baptist Church until 1859.
The church was purchased by John T. Ford in 1861. John T. Ford renovated the building into a theatre. But the original theatre burned in 1862. Ford erected a new building which became the present-day Ford’s Theatre and opened August 1863. As the Civil War raged, this was one of Washington’s premier theatres.
But then on April 15, 1865, United States President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while he sat in the booth. After his death, there was a lot of discussion about what should be done with the theatre.
Ford’s Theatre was purchased by the government in 1866. It was then used as an army building with the Army Medical Museum occupying the third floor, initially. It stayed a federal record building until 1932, during which time an interior collapse killed 22 workers in 1893.
In 1932, the Lincoln Museum was moved into the theatre from the Peterson House across the street. The National Park Service took over in 1933. The theatre was then restored and reopened with its first public performance since Lincoln’s assassination in 1968. It has been a working theatre and a historic site ever since.
Ford’s Theatre is located at 511 10th St. NW, Washington DC 20004. Phone: (202) 347-4833. There is an independent parking garage directly next to the theatre if you are driving to the site. Visitors can reserve 6 tickets per party in this time of Covid-19. Entry is timed every hour and visitors have 45 minutes to tour the museum and theatre. Tickets cost $3 per person.
The Ford’s Theater Tour was a nice little surprise stop which I wouldn’t have thought to visit on my own. The historic places are the places my son and I find most fascinating, so this was right up our alley.
The Victorian architecture was just gorgeous, and the museum was filled with interesting artifacts and history that I had either not known or long forgotten from my school days.
My son really found it super cool to see the single shot Derringer which was used to assassinate the former president.
If you’re into our country’s history, this is an absolute must do if you’re in the DC area. I highly recommend it to all visitors of the area.
Have you been there? I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Did you learn anything new?
Please drop a few lines in the comments box below and let me know how your visit went.
In the meantime, safe travels!
P.S. If you happen to use travel journals, be sure to check out the travel journal I created for my future Washington DC Road Trips.
Written by Kris M.
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