President Lincoln's Cottage

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President Lincoln's Cottage

In June 1862 President Lincoln moved from the White House to this Gothic Revival cottage on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home to escape the oppressive heat of Washington and to grieve for the loss of his son Willie. Lincoln and his wife, Mary, lived in the cottage until November of that year, and because they found it to be a welcome respite from wartime tensions, they returned again during the summers of 1863 and 1864. Lincoln ultimately spent a quarter of his presidency at this quiet retreat; he was here just one day before he was assassinated. Considered the most significant historic site of President Lincoln's presidency outside the White House, it was here that the president developed the Emancipation Proclamation. A reproduction of the walnut-paneled desk on which he wrote this historic document can be seen in the Cottage. (The original desk is in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House.)

Check in at the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center—where there's a museum store, exhibit galleries, and introductory film—for the one-hour interactive, conversation-based tours. On the Signature Cottage Tour your historical interpreter will share authentic stories of Lincoln's presidency and life at the Cottage and new perspectives on the influential ideas he developed while living here. Only 20 spots are available per tour and weekends often sell out, so it's best to make reservations via the website or E-Tix.

Visitors may picnic on the cottage grounds, which have been landscaped to look as they did when Lincoln lived here. As you go up the hill toward the Cottage, there's a panoramic view of the city, including the Capitol Dome. The 251-acre Soldier's Home sits atop the third-tallest point in D.C.


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