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    When you see Fordís Theatre from the outside, you might literally confound it for just another regular part of present-day Washington D.C., if you donít know what the place really is. But the moment you step inside, youíre automatically transported to the past. The decoration is set to the times of President Lincoln, and the theatreís original style of architecture has been perfectly preserved both in the interior and exterior of the building. Or so it seems. Even if itís not one of the most technologically advanced theatres in the nation, itís still one of the most beautiful and elegant ones. My initial expectation before I entered was that the theatre house would be quite large and able to accommodate thousands of people. When I entered, I was shocked by how diminutive itís size was compared to most theatre houses being build today, or in the past fifty years. But maybe that was my mistake, having compared it in my mind to present-day constructions. Either way, whatever this site might have lacked in size, it made up for in beauty.

            President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated April 14th,1865 by well-known actor John Wilkes Booth, who shot him in a desperate attempt to aid the dying confederacy. Lincoln was the first president ever to be assassinated. He died only five days after Robert E. Lee had signed his surrender at the Appomattox Court House, making it harder for the U.S. to make its transition from Civil War to peace and union. Fordís theatre house was closed down after the death of Abraham Lincoln, but was reopened in 1968. Itís now under extensive remodeling, and is to be turned into a world class theatre and learning center, according to the National Park Service administration. This impressive place has nearly one million visitors a year. Quite the feat if you take its miniature size into consideration.

            Right across the street, you have a much less elaborate, much less noticeable, but equally important building. The Petersen Boarding House is a place that has just as much historical relevance as the theatre itself. Lincoln was carried here right after he was shot in his presidential box seat, from where the Star Spangled Banner hangs majestically. Here, Lincoln was given the available medical attention, and he was able to live for nine more hours after the trigger was pulled. When you walk into the house that is now turned into an exhibit, you can see the bed where Lincoln spent his last hours. Iím not sure if the actual mattress and quilts are the original ones, but the feeling that you get when you realize that Lincoln lay in that same spot  144 years ago is nevertheless amazing. The was certain details of the house have been preserved, such as the furniture, wallpaper, rugs and ceilings, is incredible, and certainly a sight worth watching. As short as the tour of the house may be, it leaves you with a life long lasting impression. It really is a place one cannot afford to miss when going to Washington D.C.

 

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