Ford’s Theater

2 02 2012

As part of my little tour of Washington, D. C. back in June 2011, I walked over to Ford’s Theater. I’d never been there before. The current complex has a much larger footprint today, but you can still make out the original building (click on all the below images for larger ones):

The Petersen House across the street, where AL died, was closed for renovations:

 

There’s a lot of cool assassination ephemera in the basement museum, including the door to the President’s box, the gun that did the deed, the boot that Dr. Mudd cut off Booth’s broken leg, and one of the hoods worn by (most of) the conspirators as they made their way from their cells to the courtroom:

   

But my favorite was this fundraiser quilt that was signed by notable figures of the day, including my two favorite Georges:

   

I feel bad for Zach Harton (2nd panel, top row), don’t you?

The tour concluded with the reconstructed theater:

  

Of course, I’m always looking for the sights and sites less seldom seen. In this case, it was the back of the building, and as usual I had the place to myself. I made my best bet as to which doorway was the one used by Booth to exit the building, mount his Peanut-tended horse, and make his escape up the alley (he had to make a left right around the spot where I took the first photo below). Even without the lovely Carol Merrill’s help I think I picked the right door, based on what I found on the threshold:

    

Craig Swain’s visit to the Ford’s Theater museum.

Robert Moore’s relative was on stage that fateful night!





The Lincoln Pew

30 01 2012

In early June, 2011, I made  a trip to Washington, DC to speak to the Capitol Hill Civil War Roundtable (you can read about it here). It was a logistically challenging trip. I stayed with friends in Arlington on Sunday evening, then headed into the District Monday morning on the Metro. It was a hot day and I intended to do some site seeing, so I took my speachafying clothes and dropped them off with friend Ron Baumgarten. Then it was off on a free form tour. I’ll share some of the photos from that sojourn over the next few days or so.

My first stop was one I think most folks don’t make: the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. This church – albeit in a different building at a different location – was frequented by the Lincoln family while they lived a few blocks away on Pennsylvania Avenue. Inside the new building is a very cool artefact (click the icons for larger images):

  

The Lincoln family pew. I had the whole place to myself. And yes, you can sit in the pew. And yes, you can scoot your butt from one end to the other just to make sure you were in the right spot (though AL often stood during service). Check it out, but be respectful.





Preview: Penguin Books “Lincoln on the Civil War”

14 04 2011

Penguin Books has published a new pocket hardcover, Lincoln on the Civil War: Selected Speeches. It’s a compact, handy, non-annotated collection, selected from Penguin’s own The Portable Abraham Lincoln, and includes the following, essential Lincoln speeches:

  • Address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois (1838)
  • “House Divided” Speech at Springfield, Illinois (1858)
  • Address at Cooper Institute, New York, New York (1860)
  • Speech at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1861)
  • First Inaugural Address, Washington, D. C. (1861)
  • Emancipation Proclamation, Washington, D. C. (1863)
  • The Gettysburg Address, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (1863)
  • Second Inaugural Address, Washington, D. C. (1865)
  • Speech on Reconstruction, Washington, D. C. (1865)

Look at this as the AL equivalent of a pocket Constitution, which you can pull out when someone spouts off that “Lincoln said…” Kind of like your own little Marshall McLuhan.





Thomas Lowry’s Version of Events

20 02 2011

Fellow blogger Drew Wagenhoffer passed along the information that Dr. Thomas Lowry (see here and here) has started a WordPress site presenting his side of the whole National Archives incident. You can read it for yourself here.  While he is using a blog platform, I’m not sure if he’s going to make regular posts as events unfold or simply revise/add to what he already has up. Dr. Lowry claims to have taken a lie detector test and passed with flying colors. He has also named the men who obtained his confession – Mitchell Yockelson and Greg Tremaglio – and one way or another I’m interested to see what happens next.





From the Archives: Grace Bedell

17 02 2011

Since we’re commemorating Lincoln’s train trip to the inauguration in 1861 and I’ve been too busy to post anything lately, here’s a link to an earlier article on the statues of Lincoln and pen-pal Grace Bedell in Westfield, NY.  Check it out.





Is A Puzzlement

4 02 2011

I admit it – I’m a sucker for The King and I. In 1977 I actually got to see a revival of the musical at the Uris Theater on Broadway. Orchestra seats. Yul Freakin’ Brynner. Close enough to see all the gears and stuff and the line where his face panel met his robot head.  OK, just kidding about that last bit, but he was awesome in Westworld, too. But yes, we were close to the stage, and Brynner in his late fifties looked like he could still kick ass, even while doing the polka.  And I love the film, though my wife gets very annoyed when I correct her on occasions when she inadvertently allows her head to be higher than King’s…er, mine.  But why am I talking about this?  The Civil War Trust has a Primary Sources entry up on their website about Abraham Lincoln’s rejection of the offer of Siam’s King Rama IV (aka Mongut at left as portrayed by The Man) of war elephants to help defeat the Confederacy.  Check it out.

And now for a little singin’ ‘n dancin':





“The Conspirator” Trailer

27 01 2011

It looks like Robert Redford’s The Conspirator will be making its debut on tax day, April 15, 2011.  Here’s the trailer (hat tip to Hop Tak):








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 899 other followers