Description - Ford's Theatre National Historic Site is the site of the nation's first presidential assassination. An unemployed actor angered by President Lincoln's war policies, and the Confederacy's recent failures in the war decided to take things into his own hands. Using the familiar ground of the theater, John Wilkes Booth entered the theatre on the night of April 14, 1865 and shot the President in the back of the head.
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Ford's Theater National Historic Site
Following the shooting, the President was carried across the street to the Petersen House where he was placed in a bed. Doctors attended the President through the night but he never regained consciousness. Lincoln died the next morning about 7:22 a.m. in the back bedroom of the rooming house.
- Today, the National Park Service and Ford's Theatre National Historic Site preserve the site of this tragic event. Park rangers give talks recounting the details of the assassination. In addition, the events of that evening are interpreted through the display of objects associated with the assassination located in the museum in the basement of the building. The Petersen House, located across the street from the theater, has been preserved and historically furnished to depict the scene of that night.
Ford's Theatre preserves the memory of Lincoln and the assassination, and through the work of Ford's Theatre Society and its professional productions, Lincoln's love of the theater stays alive.
Incidentally, the doctor who aided John Wilkes Booth, was sentenced to Fort Jefferson, a prison with a reputation for relentless punishment. For details, navigate to Wildernet's Florida, Dry Tortugas National Park, Fort Jefferson Hike.
Recreation - Ranger-led tours and exhibits available. The museum beneath the theater contains portions of the Olroyd Collection of Lincolniana.
Talks are given in the theater at 15 minutes after the hour, every hour. The first talk is at 9:15 a.m. and the last at 4:15 a.m.
The theater closes during matinees, rehearsals. and workshops, which are normally held on Thursdays and Sundays. Although the theater closes the museum and Petersen Boarding House remain open.
Climate - Washington, D.C. experiences four distinct seasons. Winters can be bitterly cold or pleasantly mild while summers can be miserably hot and humid or agreeably warm. The average January temperature is 37 degrees F (3 degrees C). The average July temperature is 78 degrees F (26 degrees C). Spring and fall are pleasant times of the year to visit the area, temperatures are mild with low humidity.
Parking is severely limited in the downtown area. Ford's Theatre is located near the intersection of 10th and E Streets in the northwest section of the city. It is a block north of the FBI building on Pennsylvania Avenue.