President Abraham Lincoln and family resided seasonally on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home to escape the heat and political pressure of downtown Washington, as did President James Buchanan (1857–1861) before him. President Lincoln's Cottage also served as the Summer White House for Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes (1877–1881) and Chester A. Arthur (1881–1885).
HistoryThe historic Cottage, built in the Gothic revival style, was constructed from 1842 to 1843 as the home of George Washington Riggs, who went on to establish the Riggs National Bank in Washington, D.C. Lincoln lived in the cottage June to November 1862 through 1864 and during the first summer living there, Lincoln drafted the preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. Mary Todd Lincoln fondly recalled the campus; in 1865, she wrote, "How dearly I loved the Soldiers' Home."
The Soldiers' Home stands on 251 acres (1.02 km2) atop the third highest point in Washington. The Home was designated a National Historic Landmark on November 7, 1973, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 1974. In 2000, the cottage was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 11 Most Endangered list. Then about 2.3 acres (9,300 m2) of the Home was proclaimed a National Monument by President Bill Clinton on July 7, 2000. The National Trust took on the restoration which was completed in 2007. The Cottage exterior was restored to the period of Lincoln’s occupancy in the 1860’s by the Philadelphia firm J. S. Cornell & Son, according to the standards of the National Park Service. Today it is managed through a cooperative agreement between the Armed Forces Retirement Home and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The adjacent Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center features exhibits about the Soldiers' Home, wartime Washington, D.C., Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief during the Civil War, and a special exhibit gallery. President Lincoln's Cottage and Visitor Education Center is open to the public for tours seven days a week.
- Official website: President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home
- Armed Forces Retirement Home: Washington, D.C.
- National Trust: President Lincoln and Soldiers' Home National Monument
- Presidential Proclamation 7329 of July 7, 2000
- National Historic Landmark information
- Aerial view of exterior restoration of Lincoln Cottage at the Soldiers' Home
- Letters from Mary Todd Lincoln
- The Shot Through Abraham Lincoln's Hat
- Steve Vogel (January 25, 2004). "A Shrinking Operation; Battling Bankruptcy in D.C., Veterans Retirement Home Is Cutting Costs and Care". The Washington Post.
- "Armed Forces Retirement Home: Allegations of Poor Care Being Probed". Washington Post. March 23, 2007.
- Jonathan O'Connell (August 15, 2008). "Crescent Resources to transform Armed Forces Retirement Home". Washington Business Journal.
- Jonathan O'Connell (February 17, 2009). "Armed Forces Retirement Home redo falls through". Washington Business Journal.
- Booknotes interview with Matthew Pinsker on Lincoln's Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home, December 21, 2003.
- J.S. Cornell & Son