Petersen House, the boardinghouse where Lincoln died, attracted pilgrims and relic hunters from the moments after the president’s body was removed on April 15, 1865.
The house directly across from Ford’s Theatre still attracts more than 400,000 tourists annually. Invariably, when they reach the small back bedroom where the president died, a silence falls over them.
The free Petersen House tour now includes a visit to the old Sardo family house next door, which has been transformed into the National Park Service’s Center for Education and Leadership. The center features a three-story-high stack of books written about President Lincoln.
It’s displays include a mock-up of the Lincoln funeral train car and John Wilkes Booth’s own key chain and map book.