Ford’s Theatre – Paranormal History Profile

Ford’s Theatre – Paranormal History Profile

September 6, 2019 11 By William Hollis


hey you know what it’s Friday night
that’s normally date night except for here at panic D videos you want to go to
the theater okay pear peeps and welcome to another
episode of our haunted travels I am your host Sean Donnelly and I’m your co-host
Maryann Donnelly in this video we are talking about Ford’s Theatre in
Washington DC that’s right but before we get into that if you are
into paranormal history or forensic type videos don’t forget to hit the subscribe
button and ding that little bell so you can hear from us next time we post a new
video so you don’t miss a thing that’s right so Ford’s Theater we didn’t go
into some time before that yes we went by it last time but we went in it a
couple years before that yeah pretty interesting I mean it was it was a
pretty cool tour actually being there so what we’re doing is we’re talking about
panic the number one one one one that’s right that’s a hard number never
remember 11-11-11 it is located at 511 10th Street Northwest Washington DC and
yes it is open to the public that’s right it’s open to the public for tours
um pretty much almost every day I think but they’re also open for actual theater
goers between May between November and May alright so if you would like to hear
about the history of this theatre the building itself we’re going way back
that’s right so go ahead and watch this video and
we’ll be right back with our personal experiences and why we believe this
location is haunted the Ford’s Theater national historic
site most well-known for where President Lincoln was shot in 1865 was originally
home to the First Baptist Church of Washington which have eventually become
known as the tenth Street Baptist Church it was built in 1833 on square 377
encompassing lot 10 John T Ford least the building on December 10th of 1861
for five years with an option to buy the property at the end of that period and
reconfigured the space into a theater he initially called it Ford’s Athenaeum Ford immediately rented the theater to
George Christie who advertised the structure as the George Christie Opera
House and ran a successful theater from December 13th of 1861 to February 27th
of 1862 following the final performance of Christie’s company Ford closed the
building and proceeded to remodel it and renovate the building based upon plans
drawn by James J Gifford these plans by the way have disappeared and have not
been able to be found On February 28th of 1862 Ford started
renovating the building investing $10,000 into new construction and the
remodeling the renovated building was open just three weeks later on march
19th of 1862 under Ford’s own name as Ford’s Athenaeum with the following
prices orchestra chairs $1 dress circle and park a $0.50 balcony seats $1 and
family circle 25 cents Lincoln attended Ford’s Theatre on may 28th of 1862 for
the first time leading it to be called and hailed as a prestigious theater
aiding in Ford’s success about five o’clock in the evening on December 30th
of 1862 a fire caused by a defective gas meter broke out in the cellar under the
stage and destroyed the building Ford’s loss was estimated at 20,000 dollars by
insurance Ford immediately went ahead with new
plans to construct a larger and more magnificent theater on the same site
with the same designer the new building mimicked the design of his holiday
Street Theatre in Baltimore for this larger theater he added a lease of part
of lot 9 on February 1st of 1863 for 99 years and through a deed purchased part
of lot 11 On February 25th of 1863 four expansions On February 25th of 1862 Ford
also officially paid $5,000 and added five $1000 notes to purchase the
building from the Baptist Church making it is by 1863 the newly redesigned and
expanded building opened with the new name
Ford’s new theater on Thursday August 27th of 1863 the overall interior
dimensions of the theater were now approximately 67 feet north and south
and a hundred and three and a half feet east to west the exterior was 75 feet by
a hundred and ten feet it would also have nine chimneys and four storeys in
1863 Ford’s Theatre hired well-known actors like John Wilkes Booth whom
Abraham Lincoln watched perform in the marble heart on November 9th of that
year on April 14th of 1865 John Wilkes Booth actor and Confederate sympathizer
snuck into Ford’s Theatre and assassinated President Lincoln he fled
the crime scene and escaped out the back of the building hiding out in Maryland
in Virginia for 12 days before soldiers found and killed him Lincoln’s death
brought productions at Ford’s Theatre to a halt for the next hundred and three
years within days Secretary of War Edwin Stanton of ordered Mathew Brady to
document the crime scene with photographs
Brady photographed the stage the presidential box etc but souvenir
hunters had already taken its flags and bunting John T Ford received official permission
to reopen the theater after the hanging of the conspirators on July 7th of 1865
July 9th of 1865 an anonymous letter was sent to Ford warning him you must not
think of opening tomorrow night I can assure you it will not be tolerated it
was signed one of the many determined to prevent it
Ford ultimately heeded the warnings and eventually sold the theater to the War
Department a placard had been placed on the door
reading closed by order of the Secretary of War tickets sold for the evening of
July 10th were refunded and it was his final attempt to ever use it as a
theater in his lifetime the War Department then took control of
the theater gutted it and turned it into a three-story office building Ford was
paid $1,500 per month beginning July 8th of 1865 for the lease of his theater
until such time as Congress would appropriate sufficient money to
authorize purchase of the building the first two floors housed the office of
Records and Pensions and the third an Army Medical Museum a Memorandum of sale
records the purchase of Ford’s Theatre by the government in July of 1866 for
eighty eight thousand dollars for the purchase of the structure having already
received twelve thousand dollars in rentals under the terms of the original
lease between Ford and the office of the quartermaster general war department
thus making the total given to mr. Ford one hundred thousand dollars the
conversion of the office space was done by Richard Dunbar of New York City for
the price of twenty eight thousand five hundred dollars between 1866 and 1887
the Army Medical Museum resided on the third floor of the former Ford’s Theater
building it offered visitors a look at them the cob
even housing part of John Wilkes Booth’s spine On June 9th of 1893 a 40-foot
section of the front of the building collapsed from the third floor
hurling men desks and heavy filing cases into the cellar this unfortunate event
killed 22 government employees and injured 65 others the cause was not only
due to overloading the floor but it was also due to negligence of a building
contractor named George W dant who was excavating under the pillars in the
cellar improperly and without sufficient shoring up of
of the floors in 1924 congressman Henry Riggs Rathbone of Illinois son of major
Henry Rathbone who witnessed the assassination unveiled a plaque labeling
what still functioned as a warehouse location where Lincoln was shot public
opposition derailed Rathbones proposal to restore the theater in 1928 the
government transferred control of Ford’s Theatre and the Petersen house where
Lincoln officially died to the office of public buildings and public parks in
1931 old Ford’s Theater building was turned over to the Department of the
Interior the upper storeys were being used for small office spaces parts of
the building also served as a recruiting station from the War Department during
World War one and later and in 1932 the Lincoln museum was opened on the first
floor as part of the National Park Service and a National Historic Site in
Houston displayed an array of Lincoln related objects from the collection of
Osborn Oldroyd a Lincoln enthusiast who had originally had his collection in
Peterson house and a replica of Ford’s Theatre as it looked at 1865 the display
opened as the new Lincoln museum but it failed to attract many visitors in 1940
the Lincoln museum received many artifacts related to the assassination
including booths Derringer pistol and over time interest and a better
understanding of Lincoln’s past and last moments
revived plans to restore both the Peterson house and the Ford theater to
their 1865 appearances in 1963 a historic structure report detailing what
history and information was had as well as proposal plans for renovations was
written in 1964 Congress approved allocation of funds to restore Ford’s
Theatre to its 1865 era appearance the interior would need extensive
reconstruction due to all the changes that had occurred since the night of the
assassination and in 1965 renovations began to restore the Ford’s Theatre
but remember original construction plans weren’t found so the use of interview
information and Mathew Brady’s photographs as well as any information
they can find in public records is what was actually used to create the
restoration in 1965 upon hearing the newly renovated theater would not host
live productions frankly Childers Hewitt founded the Ford’s Theatre Society which
still puts on plays there today in 1968 Ford’s Theater Society
reintroduced live performances at the Ford’s Theatre for the first time since
the night of the Lincoln assassination also in 1968 the museum was also
renovated a life mask of Lincoln’s face was made
1860 and this served as a new centerpiece for the museum which by the
way had been moved to Ford’s theaters basement the museum however did still
under play the assassination in 1968 Ford’s Theater reopened as a National
Historic Site and a working theater 1970 Ford’s Theater Society hosted its first
annual Ford’s Theater gala and it was attended by first lady Patricia Nixon
former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower and Ethel Kennedy they were all seated in
the second row through the remaining decades Ford’s Theater national historic
site has seen further renovations to accommodate people’s interests in
learning more about the assassination the National Park Service modernized the
Ford’s Theater museum in 1988 addressing the unfortunate event of the
assassination of Lincoln more thoroughly and the Ford’s Theater Society and
National Park Service updated the museum and theater again between 2007 and 2009
as Ford’s Theater needed some updates to the 40 year old reconstruction new sound
lighting stage rigging and ventilation were had as well as an overhaul of
seating creating a historically accurate representation of the 1865 theatre the
new museum would now Chronicle the difficulties Lincoln faced the legacy he
left behind and details of his assassination it reopened on February
11th of 2009 the night before Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday prominent
figures such as president and mrs. Obama Katie Couric and James Earl Jones
attended the reopening ceremony in 2009 Ford’s Theater National Historic Site
also acquired street-level space in the adjacent office building allowing the
society to expand and include a larger Lobby and updated amenities in 2010
Ford’s Theater Society purchased a ten story building next to Peterson house to
construct offices learn studios and additional museum space in
2015 for the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of
Lincoln they portrayed the events at the theater the street and Peterson house in
real time streaming it live on social media today Ford’s Theater brings
politically and socially vital plays to the stage entertaining both locals and
out-of-towners with a full season each year ranging from September to May and
since 1981 they’ve given out something called the Lincoln medal the Lincoln
medal is given by Ford’s Theater Society to those who through their body of work
accomplishments or personal attributes exemplify the lasting legacy and the
mantle of character embodied by Abraham Lincoln past recipients have included
dr. Maya Angelou Julie Andrews Morgan Freeman James Earl Jones as well as
first ladies Laura and Barbara Bush and Lady Bird Johnson a full list can be
found on the theaters website who will be next will it be you if not you can at
least visit the museum or even attend to play just as Lincoln did well maybe not
just like Lincoln did that was a long one but this building
has a lot of history and I left a lot out like normally I try to tell you
about the sizes of the rooms and all that kind of stuff and I left most of
that out I hope so all right so our personal experiences
like I said I really enjoyed my cell phone where there went into the theater
itself and they gave a presentation and then at the time we were there and I
think it’s been moved now but the museum was down in the basement I think they
bought the building next to it and moved the museum or they’ve got additional
they’ve added additional space yes that’s we you know that means we have to
go back go back we have to go back soon anyways because our national library
cards they expire every two years our research cards Library of Congress
nationally so what what about you it was amazing I I thought it was fantastic and
just you know going across the street then Petersen house and everything all
together because they basically put the tour as you buy the tickets to
everything together and they have so much they have so much memorabilia and
so much history that they’ve built into it and they’ve added to it through the
years and I think it’s getting better and better and just being in the main
part of the theater being allowed to walk up the same staircases you know
it’s just really cool yeah so I guess this is just a easy one why would it be
so haunted you know it’s it’s it’s a typical residual haunting that goes on
we’ve talked about this now this would be the third video about this subject
but with the assassination and and all that
energy I meant are you disagreeing no why else would it be so on it well there
was some interesting other stuff that came out in the history though too there
were other people who lost their lives in this bill that’s right 22 I believe
it’s correct so there were other deaths in this building when that collapse
happened but that was after the thing so could be some other and be flown on in
there as well yeah and before Ford even took it over when he was taking it over
and he was getting the idea that he wanted a theater in there that the
people from the church one of them said that’s not a good idea
only bad will come to those people as anyone who turns this building into a
theater and interesting yeah I’m just saying well is there anything else you
would like that that was what I wanted to add to this well she already out of
it alright folks hey till next time thanks for watching and happy hunting
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