I have been in Washington, DC for over thirty years, and before that, I had visited many times, beginning in kindergarten. I have always thought I knew the city well, and am always happy to share my broad base of knowledge.
But yesterday I visited a place for the very first time and found it utterly charming.
Located in the northeast quadrant of the city, and properly named President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home National Monument, this gem of a property has been listed on the National Trust since the year 1974.
It is sited next to what was the originally the Soldier’s Home, a Gothic revival confection, and what now houses a charter school. The property of 251 acres is doted with buildings of different times ranging from Victorian to postmodern and still has retired armed forces members in residence.
The cottage 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."
During his stays, President Lincoln would often spend time visiting with the residents of the Soldier’s Home.
Several of the buildings are available for events, and there is even a Gothic chapel (Catholic) and a wonderful gazebo, perfect for wedding ceremonies. For large groups (up to 1000) tenting can be erected.
The cottage itself has a capacity of 250 standing, and 120 seated. I can easily imagine a wonderful corporate dinner, with its attendees gathered from around the county, perhaps even the globe. The building’s fine exterior and interior architecture are both handsome and well preserved, and not so imposing as to call for a certain “look” to any type of event.
Also just recently made available is what is known as the Governor's Mansion. In 1857 President James Buchanan used this impressive home as his summer residence and commented that he “slept much better than at the White House”. It would be a charming site for a formal lawn party, with plenty of seating on its impressive wrap around porch.
If you are interested in more information on planning an event at Lincoln’s Cottage, give Brian Beal Moore Catering a call! (202) 617-6611.