Ford's Theater


Theatre entrepreneur John T. Ford leased Washington’s First Baptist Church in 1861 and converted it into a music hall.  His theater grew in popularity but was destroyed by fire.  But Ford immediately began reconstruction and opened Ford’s "New Theatre" in August 1863.  On the evening of April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln, his wife and two guests attended “Our American Cousin”.  That night, John Wilkes Booth fired the shot that plunged the nation into mourning and a theatre into darkness.  John Ford tried to re-open the Theatre but threats of arson prevented it.  The government bought the Theatre in 1866 and over the next 90 years it was an office building, warehouse and museum.

Today, Ford's Theatre is again a live, working theatre.   As a national historic and cultural site, it re-opened its doors in 1968--after having been closed for 103 years.   In the basement is an excellent museum of Lincoln memorabilia.

Lincoln's Box Booth's Gun Lincoln's Chair
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