Abraham Lincoln's Assassination
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Library of Congress Photograph
Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. was built in 1863 after a fire destroyed another theater (a converted Baptist church) on the same site. The theater held 1700 patrons, but most estimates were that there was not a full house the night of the assassination. Before shooting the president, John Wilkes Booth had a drink in the tavern to the right of the theater. Incredibly, the president's coachman, valet, and bodyguard were also drinking at the same bar, possibly even at the very moment of the assassination. In 1893, while being used as a government office building, all three floors collapsed, and 22 people were killed. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a congressional bill to restore the theater. A beautifully refurbished Ford’s Theatre reopened in 1968 with the play John Brown’s Body.

Ford's Theatre and its museum were closed for renovations in 2007. The theater reopened in February 2009. Ford's Theatre Museum reopened in July of 2009. Across the street the Petersen House, where Lincoln passed away, is open for tours.

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