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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Penn Quarter in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Abraham Lincoln Walked Here

Civil War to Civil Rights

 

ó Downtown Heritage Trail ó

 
Abraham Lincoln Walked Here Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, March 7, 2010
1. Abraham Lincoln Walked Here Marker
Inscription.  
"Tonight,
beautiful women,
perfumes, and the violinsí sweetness...


At 10:30 p.m. on March 4, 1865, a tired and gaunt President Lincoln arrived at this site, his wife Mary in white lace and silk with purple and white flowers in her hair. The ball celebrating his second inaugural was being held in the Grand Hall on the top floor of the Patent Office next to where you stand (today a Smithsonian Museum).

It was a bittersweet affair. Union victory was in sight, but the ravages of war weighed heavily on the president, and were reflected in his weary, weathered face. He left before the midnight supper, never being one for social occasions. In six weeks he would be gone, felled by an assassinís bullet at Fordís Theatre just two blocks from here.

Lincoln would have come this way often. The Patent Office and the General Post Office Building, facing it across F Street, were the two most important federal buildings to be built after the White House and the Capitol. Both buildings were designed in part by Robert Mills, the architect of the Washington Monument and the U.S. Treasury, and were partially
Abraham Lincoln Walked Here marker - photo on reverse image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, March 7, 2010
2. Abraham Lincoln Walked Here marker - photo on reverse
"Broad awnings shade a busy F Street in the late 19th century, seen here looking west toward the U.S. Treasury Building." Washingtoniana Division, D.C. Public Library
Click or scan to see
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complete by the time Lincoln came to Washington as a one-term congressman from Illinois in 1848. They towered over the little two- and three-story shops and homes around them. In one of these small buildings adjacent to the Post Office, Samuel B. Morse ran the nationís first telegraph office.

During the Civil War, this street would have been the scene of intense activity. The Post Office doubled as a food commissary. The Patent Office, scene of Lincolnís second inaugural ball, had been a hospital. The poet Walt Whitman, who nurse the wounded there, witnessed it all and recorded the dramatic contrasts.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number .5.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicCommunicationsGovernment & PoliticsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Downtown Heritage Trail, the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, the Lincoln 1861 Inaugural Train Stops, the Postal Mail and Philately 📭, and the Walt Whitman 🏳️‍🌈 series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1804.
 
Location. 38° 53.839′ N, 77° 1.377′ W. Marker is in Penn Quarter in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection
Old Patent Office Bldg - now the Smithsonian Institution's Donald W. Reynolds Center image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, March 7, 2010
3. Old Patent Office Bldg - now the Smithsonian Institution's Donald W. Reynolds Center
the "Abraham Lincoln Walked Here" marker is visible behind the white car, lower right.
of F Street Northwest and 8th Street Northwest on F Street Northwest. Marker is on the sidewalk in front of the main (south side) entrance to the Smithsonian Institution, Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture - National Portrait Gallery. It is between 7th and 9th Streets Northwest, and across F Street from the end of 8th Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 801 F Street Northwest, Washington DC 20004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Patent Office Building (a few steps from this marker); General Post Office (within shouting distance of this marker); Roy Lichtenstein (within shouting distance of this marker); The Restoration of 800 F Street (within shouting distance of this marker); The Daguerre Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Daguerre Monument (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Vaquero (about 300 feet away); Mary Church Terrell (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Penn Quarter.
 
More about this marker.
[Illustration captions:]

above Lincolnís second inaugural ball was held in the Patent Office, now a Smithsonian museum. [“Bill of Fare of the Presidential Inauguration Ball ...” ] (Library of Congress.)

above Walt Whitman, about 1860. (Library of Congress.)

above and right The Patent Office, seen in 1848, towered over the neighborhood. Samuel B. Morse ran the nationís first telegraph office on this block. (Library of Congress.)

below A drawing of the Old Post Office Building about 1843 when only the section facing F Street was complete. A corner of the Patent Office appears at the left. (Library of Congress.)
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .  The Reynolds Center. (Submitted on March 16, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
Additional keywords. The
Abraham Lincoln Walked Here Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 16, 2015
4. Abraham Lincoln Walked Here Marker
In front of Modern Head by Roy Lichtenstein.
Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture; inaugural balls
 
Bill of Fare<br>Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Ball image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 16, 2015
5. Bill of Fare
Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Ball
Lincolnís second inaugural ball was held in the Patent Office, now a Smithsonian museum.
Close-up of image on marker
Walt Whitman, about 1860. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 16, 2015
6. Walt Whitman, about 1860.
Close-up of photo on marker
Samuel F. B. Morse image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 16, 2015
7. Samuel F. B. Morse
Samuel F. B. Morse ran the nationís first telegraph office on this block.
Close-up of photo on marker
The Patent Office image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 16, 2015
8. The Patent Office
The Patent Office, seen in 1848, towered over the neighborhood.
Close-up of photo on marker
Old Post Office image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 16, 2015
9. Old Post Office
The Patent Office, seen in 1848, towered over the neighborhood. Samuel F. B. Morse ran the nationís first telegraph office on this block.
Close-up of photo on marker
Smithsonian American Art Museum<br>National Portrait Gallery image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 16, 2015
10. Smithsonian American Art Museum
National Portrait Gallery
Formerly the Patent Office
The Old Post Office image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 16, 2015
11. The Old Post Office
Now the Hotel Monaco
Walt Whitman Way image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 16, 2015
12. Walt Whitman Way
Since 2005 the 800 block of F Street has been designated "Walt Whitman Way."
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 15, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,903 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on March 15, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   2, 3. submitted on March 16, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on February 17, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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May. 17, 2021