Ford's Theatre

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At the start of the Civil War, the location that would become Ford's Theatre was a Baptist Church. In December 1861, it began its life as a theatrical venue for the "George Christy Opera House," a popular minstrelsy troop with performances that lasted into February 1862. Following a renovation, it reopened in March 1862 as Ford's Atheneum. The Atheneum was destroyed by fire on 30 December 1862. It reopened in August 1864 as The New Ford's Theatre." President Lincoln is known to have attended ten performances: La Figlia Del Regimenta, starring Clara Louisa Kellogg (28 March 1862); Fanchon, the Cricket, starring Maggie Mitchell (30 October 1863); The Marble Heart, starring John Wilkes Booth (9 November 1863), Henry IV, starring James H. Hackett as Falstaff (14 and 15 December 1863); The Merry Wives of Windsor, starring Hackett (17 December 1863); King Lear, starring Edwin Forrest (8 April 1864); a concert (19 June 1864); a Treasury Department Ball and Concert (19 April 1864); and Our American Cousin, starring Laura Keene (14 April 1865). Booth shot Lincoln at the 14 April 1865 performance. (Lincoln Day by Day).


  • Morrison, Andrew, Theatre Guide of Washington, D.C., (Washington, DC: The Theatre Historical Society, 1972). View source information 
  • Miers, Earl Schenck, Lincoln Day by Day: A Chronology 1809-1865, vol 3, (Washington: Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission, 1960). View source information