511 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Opened: 1833, opened as a theatre in 1861
Seats: 661, originally 2,400?
This building was originally built in 1833 as the second meeting house for the First Baptist Church. It was leased by John T. Ford and reopened as a theatre. At an April 14, 1865 performance of Tom Taylor's Our American Cousin, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. The theatre was subsequently closed and bought by the government for use as offices and storage. Funds were appropriated in 1955 for an engineering study into reconstruction of the building. Funds were appropriated for reconstruction in 1964 and the theatre reopened for performance on January 30, 1968. When I visited in 2011 it served both as a historic site and performance venue.
Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of? (William Shakespeare)