Saturday, February 12, 2011

I would like to take you to Lincoln's Cottage

In honor of the President's birthday, we visited his Cottage. Walking into the front door felt like walking into a church. About 3 miles northeast of the White House, Lincoln slept here in the summer, retreating to this home in the evening and commuting by horseback each morning, alone. Imagine the American president ambling through countryside into the city, speaking to soldiers and citizens along the way. Eventually, he was all but coerced by the Secretary of War to allow a military escort of 25-30 men.
The Cottage was built for a banker named Riggs and his family in the 1840s and within a decade became the property of the US Government. The Armed Forces Retirement Home grew up around the cottage (note the stuccoed bell tower and water tower just within the frame of the photos, right next to the cottage) and still operates as such today.
Other presidents stayed here but it has been preserved as it was during Lincoln's tenure. The Emancipation Proclamation was written here as well as many other significant events. The house is very sparsely furnished which makes it easy to both appreciate the architecture and imagine the space as Lincoln's family abode. The design of the house is heavily influenced by Gothic Revival country home plans in Andrew Jackson Downing's Victorian Cottage Residences (1842).

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