A tour exploring the site’s unique approach to restoration and interpretation, led by the Senior Historic Preservationist at President Lincoln’s Cottage.
Directions to the field session, Covid-19 safety protocols, and other relevant information will be provided in your registration confirmation.
President Lincoln’s Cottage is a historic site and museum located on a 250-acre campus in Northwest Washington, D.C. Here, Lincoln made some of his most nation-changing decisions during the Civil War, including drafting of the Emancipation Proclamation. The site was a refuge for several succeeding presidents and was eventually subsumed into the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH).
First constructed in 1842 for Washington banker George W. Riggs, the Gothic Revival-style Cottage and adjoining estate was purchased by the U.S. Government in 1851 to develop a home for retired veterans. The Lincoln family began using the house in the 1860s to escape the hot, muggy summers of downtown Washington; there, they witnessed some of the most significant moments of the Civil War, including a planned raid on nearby Fort Stevens in July 1864. Lincoln visited the Cottage for the last time on April 13, 1865, the day before he was shot by John Wilkes Booth.
After Lincoln’s assassination, later Presidents continued to make use of the Cottage as a rural retreat. During the twentieth century, the property was used intermittently as a dormitory for the Soldiers’ Home band, a bar and lounge for residents, and a dormitory for female residents. In the early 2000s, the National Trust for Historic Preservation undertook an eight-year, $15 million capital project to preserve President Lincoln’s Cottage, and it opened to the public in 2008. Field Session attendees will have the opportunity to tour the Cottage and grounds, learning about key aspects of the site’s interpretation policy and approach to restoring spaces to their Lincoln-era conditions. Time and conditions allowing, attendees may also discuss the surrounding AFRH campus, which is slated for a transformational redevelopment to bring additional housing, office, and commercial space onto the campus.
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Photo credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation