Category Archives: Abraham Lincoln

Inn at 835 on Route 66 in Springfield, Illinois

Inn at 835, Springfield, Illinois Poster

You’ll enjoy luxurious vintage surroundings at the Inn at 835, in Springfield, Illinois, in an historic neighborhood and on Route 66. There’s even rumored to be a ghost, but we didn’t see her.

In July, my husband and I decided to drive to Chicago for a wedding, rather than fly, so that we could see sights along the way. One town we’d never visited was Springfield, Illinois, of Abraham Lincoln fame.  A quick check online, and I found this wonderful small hotel, the Inn at 835, which is in the historic area of Springfield, close to the state  capitol, the Abraham Lincoln presidential library and the Abraham Lincoln home.

Built in the early 1900s, the Inn at 835 in Springfield, Illinois, first housed luxury apartments. The building was the dream of Bell Miller, a turn of the century businesswoman.  It was designed during the Arts and Crafts movement by architect, George Helmle.

We returned from dinner at Obed & Isaac's Microbrewery and Eatery to find this basket of chocolate chip cookies hanging on our doorknob. I quickly took a photo before the cookies disappeared.

We returned from dinner at Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery and Eatery to find this basket of chocolate chip cookies hanging on our doorknob. I quickly took a photo before the cookies disappeared.

While still in her 20s, Miller began a floral business in the early 1890’s, catering to Springfield’s high society. Before long, she expanded her small business into a number of greenhouses, encompassing a city block.

In December 1909, her dream apartment building was completed, including airy verandahs, massive fireplaces and exquisite oak detailing in a neighborhood once termed “Aristocracy Hill.” It’s on an historic section of Route 66, a bonus!

In 1994, the building was completely renovated and the apartments were converted into seven luxurious guest rooms. In 1995, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to the legend, Miller became so fond of her dream home, that she refuses to leave and haunts the place.

 

Inn at 835 Inn, Springfield, Illinois Postcard

Inn at 835, Springfield, Illinois.

Rubber Ducky Poster

A rubber ducky greets guests on the edge of the tub at the Inn at 835.

Obed & Isaac's Microbrewery & Eatery Poster

The owners of the Inn at 835 also own the nearby Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery & Eatery, in an historic home.

 

One of the original guest bedrooms in the Inn at 835, formerly the Bell Miller Apartments, in Springfield, Illinois.

One of the original guest bedrooms in the Inn at 835, formerly the Bell Miller Apartments, in Springfield, Illinois.

 

Flag Outside Window at Inn at 835, Springfield, Illinois.

Flag Outside Window at Inn at 835, Springfield, Illinois.

 

Breakfast at the Inn at 835, Springfield, Illinois.

Breakfast at the Inn at 835, Springfield, Illinois.

 

Breakfast Room at the Inn at 835 in Springfield, Illinois.

Breakfast Room at the Inn at 835 in Springfield, Illinois.

 

 

The patio at Obed & Isaac's Microbrewery and Eatery, Springfield, Illinois.

The patio at Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery and Eatery, Springfield, Illinois.

 

I like dark beer! This was one of the dark hand-crafted beers at Obed & Isaac's.

I like dark beer! This was one of the dark hand-crafted beers at Obed & Isaac’s.

 

Obed & Isaac's Microbrewery & Eatery, Springfield, Illinois.

Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery & Eatery, Springfield, Illinois.

 

One of the living rooms in the suites at the Inn at 835 in Springfield, Illinois.

One of the living rooms in the suites at the Inn at 835 in Springfield, Illinois.

 

Wine and cheese are offered every evening.

Wine and cheese are offered every evening.

 

Bell Miller Apartments, City of Springfield (Illinois) Historic Landmark.

Bell Miller Apartments, City of Springfield (Illinois) Historic Landmark.

 

Inn at 835 Entrance, Springfield, Illinois.

Inn at 835 Entrance, Springfield, Illinois.

 

The Inn at 835 is on the historic Route 66.

The Inn at 835 is on the historic Route 66.

 

The Inn at 835 is in the Old Aristocracy Hill Historic Area.

The Inn at 835 is in the Old Aristocracy Hill Historic Area.

Illinois State Capitol Building Poster

A statue of Abraham Lincoln stands in front of the Illinois State Capitol.

Is the “Inn at 835” Haunted?

Official Website of the Inn at 835.

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Let Us Remember

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and his family spent summers in a cottage near the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery, in Washington, D.C. Although the cottage and grounds were a refuge from the heat of downtown three miles south, the nearby cemetery was a constant reminder of the daily carnage of the war. The cemetery, next to the Armed Forces Retirement Home, is one of only two national cemeteries administered by the Department of the Army, the other being Arlington National Cemetery. The national cemetery is adjacent to the historic Rock Creek Cemetery and to the Soldiers’ Home.

On this Memorial Day weekend in the United States, as we enjoy three days usually spent in some pleasant activity with family and friends, I wanted to spend a few moments thinking about the reason for the holiday.  Holiday seems too festive of a term for a day dedicated to remembering men and women who died in the service of the U.S. Armed Forces, but holiday does come from the word Holy Day. A sacred day.  A day for contemplation.

People around the world have been honoring their dead lost to conflict and war since the beginning of human time.  We can discuss the rightness, the justness or the causes of any war and come to a number of conclusions, but today I just want to think about the incredible sadness of the loss of so many lives and the gratitude I feel to those who died.

Memorial Day in the United States was established after the Civil War to honor fallen Union soldiers, but now covers all service men and women.  At least a million people died during the U.S. Civil War, including at least 600,000 soldiers.  Some have estimated the death toll of soldiers as high as 850,ooo. Memorial Day evolved from Decoration Day, which began during the Civil War among freed slaves and other black American families as a celebration of both black and white Union soldiers who fought for liberation and justice

One who particular bore a heavy load during war was Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, President Lincoln and his family spent part of each year (June – November 1862-64) living in a cottage at the Soldiers’ Home in Washington, DC., near the recently established National Cemetery. The Lincoln Cottage, as it is known now, was a refuge from the oppressive summer heat and clamor of the federal area and downtown three miles south, but the daily burials in the cemetery were a constant reminder of the war’s terrible carnage. President Lincoln would often roam in the cemetery at night in torment over the deaths and the burden of the war. So many died in the Civil War that the six-acre cemetery at the Soldiers’ Home was soon filled.  A much larger new military cemetery was needed, so Arlington National Cemetery was created.  Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs appropriated the land on June 15, 1864 for Arlington National Cemetery from the family of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Arlington, Virginia. Lee’s wife Mary Anna Randolph Custis was a descendant of Martha Washington.

The Soldiers’ Home was founded in 1851 as a home for retired and disabled veterans of American wars.   Soon after the start of the Civil War, a cemetery was created on its grounds, now called the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.

The National Cemetery’s website states: “Just days after the Battle of Bull Run, the Commissioners of the United States Military Asylum offered six acres of land at the north end of the Home’s grounds as a burial ground for soldiers and officers.  This offer was accepted in late July 1861, and the first burials were made shortly thereafter on August 3.

From 1861 to 1864, the cemetery accepted thousands of soldiers’ remains from 17 of the 25 Union states, quickly filling the six-acre cemetery’s capacity.  An 1874 report on the condition of the cemetery noted more than 5,600 interments, including 278 unknown, 125 Confederate prisoners of war, and 117 civilian relatives of the deceased and employees of the Home.  In 1883, more than nine additional acres were added to the grounds, bringing the cemetery’s total size to nearly sixteen acres.  In 1900, all of the Confederate remains were reinterred in Section 16 of Arlington National Cemetery.”

The Washington D.C. area is home to many memorials and monuments.

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, the guard is changed every hour on the hour October 1 to March 31 in an elaborate ritual. From April 1 through September 30, another changing of the guard is added on the half hour and the cemetery closing time moves from 5 to 7 p.m.

Four memorials in the Washington, D.C., area: Upper left is part of the World War II Memorial; Upper right is a section of the Korean War Veterans Memorial; Lower right is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the lower left is the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

About Memorial Day

About President Lincoln’s Cottage at The Soldiers’ Home

About the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery Washington, D.C.

About Arlington National Cemetery

About the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

About Vietnam Women’s Memorial

About the World War II Memorial

About the Korean War Veterans Memorial

History of the Arlington National Cemetery property.

My Blog Post “In Search of Abraham Lincoln”

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Intellectual Property Rights

Classic Books postcard

As a writer and photographer, I’m often territorial about my words and images, so I can understand any creative person getting huffy or even litigious when their intellectual property is used without permission. If I want some pithy quotes, I use the words of a long-dead people, always crediting them, of course.

I designed a greeting card using a photograph I took of old books my mother has collected. I added some quotes from five long-dead authors and philosophers about books and then posted the card on a Print on Demand (POD) site where I have many products. The card is to be a small gift for my fellow book club members (Shhh, don’t tell them.)

A few days later, I received an email from the POD site informing me that my “design contains an image or text that infringes on intellectual
property rights. We have been contacted by the intellectual property right holder and at their request we will be removing your product from …’s Marketplace due to intellectual property claims.”

There was no clue which element might have offended, so I pressed the POD site to find out. Was it one of the publishers listed on the book spines in the photograph? I couldn’t imagine that it would be any of the people I quoted. They’d all been dead at least seventy-five years, when copyrights expire. I realize that copyright issues are much more complicated than that (after all, lawyers are involved) and some copyrights can be renewed. I’ve recently learned that even many versions of the Bible are copyrighted. The King James version, however, is in the public domain.

A plaque featuring Mark Twain's words about Australia is on Writers Walk on Circular Quay of Sydney Harbor in Sydney, Australia. Somehow I must have known I'd meet up with Mark Twain again when I took this photograph.

This was the advice I’d been given about Fair Use. “Public domain works are works whose copyrights were issued before 1923. Many authors choose to use quotes only from people who have been dead more than seventy-five years because their quotes are now considered “Fair Use” under the public domain. Copyrights are good for the duration of the author’s life and for seventy-five years beyond their death. It is generally safe to use quotes from authors who died 1936 or before.”

The POD site fingered the complainer: Mark Twain, or, more accurately, the representatives of Mark Twain. “We have been contacted by the licensing company (I won’t name them) who represent Mark Twain, and at their request, have removed the product from the …  Marketplace.”

I went to the Mark Twain Rep site where I read: “We work with companies around the world who wish to use the name or likeness of Mark Twain in any commercial fashion. The words and the signature “Mark Twain” are trademarks owned and protected by the Estate of Mark Twain. In addition, the image, name, and voice of Mark Twain is a protectable property right owned by the Estate of Mark Twain. Any use of the above, without the express written consent of the Estate of Mark Twain is strictly prohibited.”

Since I make no money from this blog, I hope Twain’s representatives don’t hunt me down here. I’m not even putting Mark Twain or his real name Samuel Clemons in the tags.

Mark Twain was very concerned about protecting his work from pirates, even though he also fussed over nitpicking copyright laws. He wanted the profits from his works — and he was sure there would be plenty of them — to continue to go to his daughters after his death. In Twain’s day, copyright protection expired after 42 years.

Twain is one of the most widely known authors in the world and is still kicking up a fuss today. A publisher recently republished  a politically correct version of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by substituting the word slave for the N word, which provoked a lot of discussion — and more sales.

In November 2010, the first of three volumes of Twain’s autobiography were published complete and unexpurgated for the first time by the Mark Twain Project a hundred years after Twain’s death. Twain had said that he wanted to suppress the publication of some of his more biting comments for a hundred years, but Twain shrewdly also knew that this new version would start the clock ticking on new copyright protection.

Here are two discussions about Twain and copyright:
Mark Twain’s plans to compete with copyright “pirates” (in 1906)

The Mark Twain Project’s Discussion of Copyright and Permissions.

About the Politically Correct Version of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

Here’s a link to the revised greeting card minus the Mark Twain quote.   I did use a quote from Abraham Lincoln and another from Kenkō Yoshida (or Yoshida Kenkō), a Japanese Buddhist monk, who died around 1350.  I think I’m safe there, but you never know.

Love of Books Card.

“A day is coming, when, in the eye of the law, literary property will be as sacred as whisky, or any other of the necessaries of life.” ~ Mark Twain ~

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Old Cowtown Museum Celebrates Independence Day

"Abraham Lincoln" visits Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Kansas, to celebrate Independence Day.  Lincoln actually did visit Kansas once before he was elected president.

"Abraham Lincoln" visits Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Kansas, to celebrate Independence Day. Lincoln visited Kansas in 1859, before he was elected president. Tom Leahy, a 4th grade teacher in Conway Springs, Kansas, portrayed Lincoln. See his comment below.

 A few decades ago, when I was a Girl Scout I spent a week during a couple of summers as a tour guide at a living history museum called Old Cowtown in Wichita, Kansas.  There were only a few buildings in those days, and it was hot and dusty, but I loved it! 

 This past weekend, I returned with my family to experience it as a tourist.  Old Cowtown Museum has grown and become even more of an Old West experience.  Now, instead of Girl Scouts, there are professional costumed re-enactors and guides.  The buildings are almost all authentic from the late 1800s and show what a midwestern cattle town was like.  The buildings are also now air-conditioned….so you can re-live the past more comfortably.

 Special events are planned throughout the year.  This past weekend, the museum celebrated Independence Day 1870s style.  “Abraham Lincoln” visited. Of course, he’s an anachronism, but he did visit Kansas once before he was elected president.  Brass bands played, there was an old-style baseball game — Lincoln played third base, gun fights between cowboys and ranchers, dance hall girls, pie-eating contests, watermelon spitting, a bucket brigade and wagon rides.  My nephews are champion pie-eaters.  We drank sarsaparilla (root beer) in the saloon.

We visited a homestead and saw a half-day-old calf in the barn.  The mother wasn’t too happy with our interest in her baby.  I never knew a moo could sound so threatening.   Every time I tried to focus my camera on the calf, the mother tried to head butt me.  Fortunately, the rail was in the way. 

In the grand finale, a couple of cow pokes placed two anvils together and blasted the top one with dynamite in the anvil shoot, which was one old-time way to celebrate before fireworks were available.  People do love to blow up things to celebrate!

There were so many activities, we didn’t get a chance to visit all of the buildings, including the Munger House, which was the home of Darius Munger, Wichita’s founder.  I was the tour guide for the Munger House as a Girl Scout, so now I have to return to Cowtown just to re-live my old guiding days.  New since my tour days is the home of the Marshall Murdock, who vigorously promoted the town through his newspaper. There are dozens of buildings, including two churches, a school house, many stores and professional buildings, a train depot, saloon and homes.

To see more of the experience, see my YouTube slide show below, which shows a lot of the action.  You can also click on Old Cowtown Museum.  Check out the map of the town on the Cowtown website.

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Old Photographs of the Famous and the Not-So-Famous

My mother is holding me outside the White House in the 1950s.  Look how stylishly everyone is dressed.

A collector just paid $50,000 for a tiny photograph of a barely discernible Abraham Lincoln standing outside the White House. Almost a hundred years later, my father photographed me in my mother's arms outside the White House. Collectors aren't clamoring to buy this photograph, but that's okay, because it's priceless!

In January, Ulysses S. Grant VI discovered a photograph in his great-great-grandfather’s album of President Abraham Lincoln standing next to the White House.  Lincoln is especially “hot” right now, because his birthday was 200 years ago this year.   A collector paid Grant $50,000 for the tiny photograph, which is thought to be the last one taken of Lincoln. (See story at the bottom.)

I’ve been looking through old family photographs, too.    My mother just acquired a stack of old sepia and black and white photographs left by relatives who’d died.  Are they worth anything?  Heck, yes!  They have enormous sentimental value.  Monetary value?  Unlikely. (We do have a blurry photograph of President Dwight Eisenhower.  Collectors?)

Photography collector Keya Morgan holds what he believes is a rare, unpublished photograph of Abraham Lincoln, the only image of the 16th president in front of the White House and the last sitting of Lincoln in 1865 before he died, in Beverly Hills, Calif., Friday, March 6, 2009.  The image by photographer Henry F. Warren was uncovered in the personal album of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.  (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Photography collector Keya Morgan holds what he believes is a rare, unpublished photograph of Abraham Lincoln, the only image of the 16th president in front of the White House and the last sitting of Lincoln in 1865 before he died, in Beverly Hills, Calif., Friday, March 6, 2009. The image by photographer Henry F. Warren was uncovered in the personal album of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Some are duplicates my parents made for my grandparents, including photographs of my young parents holding me at various tourist spots in the Washington. D.C. area, where we lived.  I don’t remember seeing these photographs before.  It’s great to see my parents in their youth before I really knew them.

Others are of long-dead relatives, but who are they?  Why aren’t there any names or dates?  Even if I don’t know who they are, I can’t toss these portals into the past. There are First Communions (twin brothers solemnly holding lit candles and prayerbooks), weddings, family reunions (Hey, I recognize those eyebrows!), school groups and a group shot of  the band at Fort Meade, South Dakota, in 1898.

Through the years, photographs pile up  — a record of people our descendants never knew and may not care about.  Tossed in a box, the photographs curl in the damp basement or fade in the attic.  Worse, they might appear on some comical greeting card!  

How many millions and millions of old photographs are out there?  If you laid them end to end would they reach to the moon?  Digital cameras make it so easy to document every event, no matter how trivial or ridiculous (I’m guilty!).  Even your phone is a camera. Most of these digital shots don’t make it into print and are almost as ephemeral as the moments they captured.  Maybe this is a good thing, some would say.  Live in the moment, save some trees and chemicals.   As for me, I’m glad to visit these moments frozen in time.

My father is holding me at Mt. Vernon, Virginia, George Washington's home, which was just down the road from Fort Belvoir, where my dather was stationed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

My father is holding me at Mt. Vernon, Virginia, George Washington's home, which was just down the road from Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where my father was stationed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

WASHINGTON – A collector believes a photograph from a private album of Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant shows President Abraham Lincoln in front of the White House and could be the last image taken of him before he was assassinated in 1865.

If it is indeed Lincoln, it would be the only known photo of the 16th president in front of the executive mansion and a rare find, as only about 130 photos of him are known to exist. A copy of the image was provided to The Associated Press.

Grant’s 38-year-old great-great-grandson, Ulysses S. Grant VI, had seen the picture before, but didn’t examine it closely until late January. A tall figure in the distance caught his eye, although the man’s facial features are obscured.

He called Keya Morgan, a New York-based photography collector and Lincoln aficionado, who helped identify it as Lincoln.

“I was like, ‘I don’t know who this is, Keya,'” said Grant, a Springfield, Mo., construction business owner.

Although authenticating the 2 1/2-by-3 1/2-inch photo beyond a shadow of a doubt could be difficult, several historians who looked at it said the evidence supporting Morgan’s claim is compelling and believable.

Morgan talked Grant into taking the photo out of the album and examining it for clues, such as the identity of the photographer.

“Not knowing who the photographer is is like not knowing who your mother or father is,” Morgan told Grant.

Grant carefully removed it and was shocked to see the handwritten inscription on the back: “Lincoln in front of the White House.” Grant believes his great-grandfather, Jesse Grant, the general’s youngest son, wrote the inscription.

Also included was the date 1865, the seal of photographer Henry F. Warren, and a government tax stamp that was issued for such photos to help the Civil War effort between 1864 and 1866.

Morgan recalled the well-documented story of Warren’s trip to Washington to photograph Lincoln after his second inauguration in March 1865. Lincoln was killed in April, so the photo could be the last one taken of him.

Warren, a commercial photographer from Massachusetts, enticed Lincoln into his frame shortly after the inauguration by taking pictures of young Tad Lincolnand asking the boy to bring his father along for a pose, according to the book, “Lincoln in Photographs: An Album of Every Known Pose,” by Charles Hamilton and Lloyd Ostendorf.

“This is the first act of paparazzi ever toward a president,” Morgan said. “Lincoln is not too happy at all.”

Historians say it has been decades since a newfound Lincoln image was fully authenticated. And in the Grant photo, it’s not obvious to the naked eye who is standing in front of the executive mansion.

You can see the White House, a short gate that once lined the building, and, on the lawn, a Thomas Jefferson statue that was later replaced with a fountain. Five people can be seen standing in front of the building. The tall man’s face is obscured, but zooming in on the image with a computer reveals a telling beard.

“Once you scan it and blow it up, you can see the whole scenario — there’s a giant standing near the White House,” Morgan said.

At 6-foot-4, Lincoln was the tallest U.S. president.

Morgan, who has sold photographs of Lincoln and other historical figures to the Smithsonian Institution, the White House and others, said he purchased the image from Grant for $50,000 in February. It will be added to Morgan’s $25 million collection of Lincoln artifacts and original images.

Several historians say Morgan has a good case.

Will Stapp, who was the founding curator of the National Portrait Gallery‘s photographs department and who now appraises fine art and photographs, said he’s usually cynical about such claims. But he said he was “very satisfied that it’s Lincoln” in the picture.

“It looks to me like Lincoln’s physique,” he said. “I can see his hairline. I can see the shadow of his beard.”

White House curatorWilliam Allman said the photo appears to include Lincoln. “I guess there’s always an element of doubt,” he said. “It feels pretty likely, though.”

Even if it’s not Lincoln, it would be among the oldest photographs of the White House.

Lincoln artifacts have recently been hot commodities leading up to the 200th anniversary of his birth, and President Barack Obama has evoked his memory several times for his work to unify the nation.

The significance of the photo is difficult to judge, Stapp said. It does show the relative freedom Lincoln had compared with presidents today, and offers a unique view of the White House from the 1860s, he said.

“We don’t so much think of (Lincoln) as living at the White House,” Stapp said. “In that respect, I think it’s an important find.”

Keya Morgan Collection: Lincoln Images.

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Forty-Four Presidents — From George Washington to Barack Obama

From George Washington To Barack Obama – A Long Way – Original Video

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In Search of Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.  Photo by Cathy Sherman.

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

My first memory of Abraham Lincoln is a huge face on Mt. Rushmore when I was a preschooler.  You don’t forget that. And who can miss his face on the penny and the five-dollar bill.  The guy is everywhere.

Everyone recognizes Lincoln and not just because he’s monumental and monetary.  He truly is larger than life.

When Anita and I visited the home of the abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass (maybe more on him later), a little boy on our tour was silent until he saw the president’s framed photograph on the wall.  “Abraham Lincoln,” he called out.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned how important and rare this president was — and I’m still learning. I want to shout out “Abraham Lincoln,” too.  So this is my shout out.

Abraham Lincoln was burdened with one of the gravest trials a leader can face — holding this nation together.  The Civil War still casts a long shadow over our country.  Three million Americans fought in that war, and more than 600,000 died from both the North and South.  Two of my great great grandfathers fought in it — Peter Gergen, an immigrant from Luxembourg (Illinois military), and John Nelson, an immigrant from Ireland (Pennsylvania military).  Arguments continue to this day about the war’s purpose, meaning and worth.

Thousands of books have been written about Lincoln and about the Civil War.  And we haven’t seen the end to the words written about him, including my own.

In June, my friend Anita and I visited several places in Washington, D.C., that were important to that war or to the leaders in it.

During several years of his presidency, Abraham Lincoln and his family spent summers in this cottage three miles north of the White House. Lincoln commuted to the White House every day by carriage or horse.

One of our stops was Lincoln’s Cottage, an early day “Camp David,” which was restored to what it might have looked like in Lincoln’s day.  It opened to the public in February of this year.  Lincoln and his family spent nearly a quarter of his presidency there, beginning in June 1862.  He’d spend the summer nights there, returning full-time to the White House in November each year.  It’s about three miles north of the White House on the city’s third highest hill.

James Buchanan was the first president to use the cottage as a summer White House.  Lincoln visited the cottage right after his inauguration and hoped to move his family there that summer, but it was not to be.  Fort Sumter was surrendered to the Confederates in April 1861.  Lincoln was overwhelmed with the duties of the war.

In February 1862, his son 12-year-old Willie became ill and died.  Now, the hilltop cottage would be more than just a refuge from the capitol area’s heat and humidity and the siege of people wanting his help. Now, it also would be a balm for his and Mary’s grief.

Lincoln\'s Cottage, rear view. Photo by Cathy Sherman.

This is the back of Lincoln’s Cottage, a 19th century “Camp David.”

Lincoln couldn’t escape reminders of the war. Daily, soldiers would be buried in the adjoining national cemetery, visible from his window. More than 5,000 soldiers would be buried there during the Civil War.  Soldiers were camped on the grounds, and Lincoln would share their coffee, and meet them in camps along his route to and from the White House each day, which took about 30 minutes each way.  He preferred to make the trip alone, and did so sometimes in the beginning, but 25 to 30 soldiers later were assigned to escort him, once thwarting a kidnapping attempt.

He’d often see the poet Walt Whitman along the way.

Among the many words Whitman wrote about Lincoln: “I see very plainly ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S dark brown face, with the deep-cut lines, the eyes, always to me with a deep latent sadness in the expression…..”

Whitman dedicated the poem “O Captain! My Captain!” to Lincoln.

This is a rough draft of Walt Whitman\'s poem, \" width=

The cottage was only about a mile from Fort Stevens, which was attacked by Confederate soldiers coming in from Maryland.  Lincoln stood on a parapet to take a look and someone shot at him.

“Get down, you fool,” someone shouted.  Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was later Supreme Court Justice, claimed to tbe the one who told the president to stand down.  Others also tried to take credit for the warning.

Plagued by insomnia, Lincoln would often ride or walk on the grounds and through the cemetery. One time during one of these restless wanderings, someone took a shot at him.  A sentry later found Lincoln’s hat with a bullet hole in the crown. Lincoln was unruffled by these attempts on his life.  Even Mary suffered in an attempt on Lincoln’s life.  Bolts had been loosened from the Lincoln carriage, which flipped over on one of her solo trips back to the White House. Her frequent

Abraham Lincoln could see this cemetery from his cottage and sometimes would roam there at night when he couldn’t sleep. Many soldiers were buried there during Lincoln’s tenure at the cottage, adding to his grief over The Civil War.

headaches became even worse, and her son Robert said that she never quite recovered from the accident.

The Lincolns were planning another summer at the cottage in 1865, but Lincoln was assassinated in April of that year. He had just visited the cottage the day before.

Mary wrote a friend: “How dearly I loved the ‘Soldiers’ Home’ & how little I supposed, one year since, that we would be so far removed from it, broken hearted, and praying for death, to remove me, from a life, so full of agony.”

Retired soldiers still live at the home.  There’s a picnic area near a visitor’s center.  The air is fragrant with the lemony scent of Magnolia grandifolia and the spicy odor of boxwood. It was pleasant in the shade of the towering trees, which our guide said were all post-Lincoln.  For more information about visiting and the cottage’s history go to www.lincolncottage.org  Reservations for the guided tours are recommended.  You can also find a link to a Lincoln Cottage blog on that website.

Two books about Lincoln that I enjoyed are “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin and “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald.  Both are Pulitzer Prize Winners. Presidents are always good topics to write a book about if you want to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Where Lincoln Sought Refuge in His Dark Hours, link to a New York Times article about Lincoln’s Cottage, his summer White House.

Lincoln died in this small room in the Peterson House, across the street from Ford\'s Theater.  Photo by Cathy Sherman.

Abraham Lincoln died in this room in the Peterson House, which is across the street from Ford’s Theater, where he was shot.

The Real Lincoln Bedroom: Love in a Time of Strife, link to a New York Times article about new book on the Lincolns’ marriage, which also includes a link to a list of books and other Lincoln topics.  If you are interested in history, the Civil War or Lincoln, this is the site for you!

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Filed under Abraham Lincoln, History, Life, Presidents, Travel