After a $15 million restoration by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a private, non-profit organization, President Lincoln’s Cottage opened to the public for the first time in 2008, giving Americans an intimate, never-before-seen view of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and family life.
Designated a National Monument by President Clinton in 2000, President Lincoln’s Cottage served as Lincoln’s family residence for a quarter of his presidency and is where he was living when he developed his Emancipation Proclamation. President Lincoln’s Cottage is located on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in northwest Washington, DC.
In addition to President Lincoln’s Cottage, the adjacent Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center, features related exhibits and media presentations. Both the restoration and establishment of President Lincoln’s Cottage and the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center took seven years.
Designation as a National Historic Landmark
The historic significance of the Soldiers’ Home was officially recognized in 1974, when four buildings built before the Civil War, along with six surrounding acres of land, were designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior. This designation celebrated the role of the Soldiers’ Home in the development of American military asylums and recognized the site as the last remaining example of three original military asylums established in 1851. The National Historic Landmark includes buildings and grounds that are outside the area open to visitors of President Lincoln’s Cottage.
Designation as a National Monument
On July 7, 2000, President William J. Clinton declared the Lincoln Cottage and 2.3 acres of surrounding land the President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home National Monument in honor of the site’s notable role in the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Despite the designation as a National Monument, the site is stewarded and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a private, non-profit organization. The President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home National Monument is officially known as “President Lincoln’s Cottage” today but maintains its National Monument status.