Lift Every Voice Georgia Avenue
— Georgia Avenue/Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail —
It's the summer of 1862. Early morning, but already hot and dusty. You're standing at this spot, when you see a tall man on horseback. It's President Abraham Lincoln. You're pleased to see him, but not surprised. After all, he rides by here often.
Georgia Avenue, then the Seventh Street Turnpike, ran between downtown Washington and Rock Creek Church Road, which led to Lincoln's summer cottage on the grounds of the Old Soldiers' Home (now the Armed Forces Retirement Home). Though Lincoln generally traveled with military escorts, sometimes he sneaked out before dawn or after dark to journey in solitude.
The Civil War was a year old. Lincoln occasionally stopped to visit with formerly enslaved men and women or wounded soldiers at settlements and Army camps along his route. Harewood Hospital, once located near today's Washington Hospital Center, was one of these. The poet Walt Whitman described Harewood as "out in the woods, pleasant and recluse."
In March 1865, southern radical John Wilkes Booth heard the president would attend a play at Campbell Hospital, then located at Sixth and Florida, near where this Heritage Trail begins. Booth plotted unsuccessfully to kidnap Lincoln on his way back to the cottage. But a mere month later, he had his way, assassinating Lincoln at Ford's Theatre.
For 83 years Engine Company 24, DC's first fully motorized fire company, occupied the south end of this block. Though the facility closed in 1994, its handsome fa?ade survives on the Metro cooling plant on New Hampshire Avenue just south of this corner. The Green line opened here in 1999.
President Lincoln's Cottage at the time of his visits.Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, courtesy Indiana State Museum
President Lincoln, seen here reviewing troops, followed this route to the cottage.Library of Congress
"Washington, D.C. 1862-4" showing the usual route taken by President Lincoln to the Soldier's Home
Based of Boshke's map of 1861.
Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, right
, considered attacking Lincoln at Campbell Hospital, above
.Library of Congress
Military musicians pose in front of a Harewood Hospital building, 1864, right
. The flimsy hospital wards stretch across the hillside, below
.Library of Congress
In 1949 Engine Company 24 stood on the site of today's Park Place apartments. Historical Society of Washington, D.C.