Visiting Gettysburg, Ford’s Theatre and other sites linked to Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln’s legacy

Figures of the Lincoln family greet visitors as they stream by the “White House South Portico” exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Ill., on Feb. 10, 2015.

(Ted Schurter / The State Journal-Register)

Here are some of the many places to learn more about Lincoln and his extraordinary story:

Washington, D.C.

Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. N.W.; (202) 347-4833,, This church became a theater that Lincoln visited a dozen times. Live theater, some Lincoln-related and some not, and educational programs. Its museum is in the basement.

Petersen House, 516 10th St. N.W.,, is a quick walk across 10th Street (admission is included in your theater/museum ticket). On the first floor of the boarding house you’ll see the bedroom where Lincoln spent his last night, and the parlors commandeered for Cabinet meetings.


Ford Theatre’s Center for Education and Leadership,, next door to the Petersen House, features the special exhibit “Silent Witnesses” as well as displays on Lincoln’s legacy and impact, including the immediate aftermath of the assassination. Perhaps most memorable is the center’s 34-foot-tall sculptural tower of books about Lincoln.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the National Mall, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., You can see the carriage that took Lincoln and his guests to Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Lincoln’s top hat, usually on display at the museum, is on loan to Ford’s Theatre until late May.

Lincoln Memorial, at the far western end of the National Mall,, is open 24 hours a day. You can admire Lincoln’s contemplative look and read the Gettysburg and Second Inaugural addresses carved into the walls.

Surratt House Museum, 9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton, Md.; (301) 868-1121, After he fled Washington, Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth picked up weapons and supplies here. Mary Surratt, the owner of the house, was hanged on July 7, 1865, for her part in the conspiracy. It opens a window on life in 19th century Maryland and into the conspiracy surrounding Lincoln’s death. Open Wednesday-Sunday.



David Wills House, 8 Lincoln Square, Gettysburg, Pa.; (877) 874-2478, The house where Lincoln stayed the night before delivering the Gettysburg Address. It was here that he is said to have put the finishing touches on the 272-word speech.

Gettysburg National Cemetery, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, Pa.; On Nov. 19, 1863, Lincoln delivered “a few appropriate remarks.”


Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, 3027 E. South St., Lincoln City, Ind.; (812) 937-4541, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, who died two years after the family moved to Lincoln City, is buried here.

Lincoln State Park, Indiana 162, Lincoln City, Ind.; (812) 937-4710,, across from the boyhood memorial. Lots of outdoor activities.


Abraham Lincoln Birthplace, 2995 Lincoln Farm Road, Hodgenville, Ky.; This site, part of the National Park Service, is closed because of construction. It is expected to reopen later this year. Abraham Lincoln, named for his grandfather, was born here in 1809 in a small log cabin to Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. In 1816, the family moved to Indiana.



Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, 112 N. 6th St., Springfield; Unlike many other presidential libraries, this one is managed by the state. The library opened in 2004 and the museum in 2005. It is one of the most visited presidential libraries; its numbers were buoyed, according to the State Register-Journal in Springfield, by the fall 2012 release of the Oscar-nominated movie “Lincoln.”

Lincoln Home National Historic Site, 426 S. 7th St., Springfield; Lincoln lived here for 17 years, the only home he ever owned. It has been restored to its 1860 appearance.

Lincoln Depot, 930 E. Monroe St., Springfield; Lincoln left from here to head to Washington for his swearing-in. It went through various incarnations (including a warehouse) and reopened in 2013 after a major renovation.

Old State Capitol, 1 Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield; Site of the 1858 “House Divided” speech, in which Lincoln, who ran for the U.S. Senate against Stephen A. Douglas, said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.” Lincoln lost the election.

Lincoln Tomb, 1500 Monument Ave., Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield; This is where Lincoln, his wife, Mary, and three of their four sons — Edward, William and Thomas (Tad) — are buried. (Robert, the only child to live to adulthood, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.) The tomb became a national historic landmark in 1960.



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