Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ford's Theater

On August 10th 1932 Ford's Theater was transferred to the National Park Service .

Ford’s Theater is famous because on the 14th of April 1865 John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln. The building started its life as the First Baptist Church 1833. In 1861 John Thomas Ford leased the building and he immediately began the work of turning the church into a music hall. Than on December 30, 1862 fire destroyed the theater, but Mr. Ford was undaunted, the cornerstone for the new theater was laid February 28, 1863, and the first performance took place August 27, 1863.

The Federal Government seized the theater during the investigation of the President’s shooting and the trials that followed. John Ford was even imprisoned after the assassination for about a month [he was acquitted]. After the sentencing and hanging of Booth‘s conspirators, the Government gave Ford permission to reopen the theater. He received threats that the building would be burned down if he opened, so once again the War Department closed it. In August 1865 the War Department began converting the theater into a three-story office building. In 1866 the theatre was bought from Ford for $100,000 by the Federal Government. In 1893 the front part of the building collapsed, killing 22 and injuring another 68 clerks. Some people began to believe the building was cursed.

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