Ford's Theatre



  • The theater in Washington, DC, in which President Abraham Lincolnwas assassinated on 14 April 1865 by the actor and Southern sympathizerJohn Wilkes booth. While Lincoln watched Tom Taylor's play,Our American Cousin, Booth entered his box and fired a Derringerpistol into the back of the President's head. Waving a knife, theassassin leapt upon the stage and shouted, "Sic semper tyrannis!The South is avenged!" He escaped from the theater but was foundin hiding 12 days later and shot.

    Ford's Theatre had opened three years earlier in a formerchurch as Ford's Atheneum. It assumed its present name after rebuildingin 1863 but closed after Lincoln's death. It was designated a NationalMonument in 1932 and a meticulous restoration in 1968 has returnedthe interior to the way it looked on the fatal night. Visitors enjoyingcurrent productions can also see the basement museum, which is devotedto Lincoln's life. Items on show include the clothes he wore to theplay, Booth's diary, and the pistol used in the assassination. Acrossthe street is Petersen house, also open to the public, where the presidentdied the next morning. see also Break a leg!.