Riggs, Anderson or Lincoln?

by Erin Carlson Mast

Throughout the late 19th and most of the 20th century, President Lincoln’s Cottage was known as “Anderson Cottage,” named in honor of Major Robert Anderson, one of the founders of the Soldiers’ Home and commander of Fort Sumter at the outbreak of the Civil War. The name had been in use for so long that many people to this day assume “Anderson” was the original name Lincoln would have known. According to official records of the Soldiers’ Home however, the cottage wasn’t dubbed “Anderson” until 1889, 25 years after Lincoln last resided in the house.

During Lincoln’s residency the cottage was referred to by several names including “Riggs’ House” (after the original owner), the “Governor’s Residence,” and collectively with the other buildings, the “Soldiers’ Home.”

In July 2000, Anderson Cottage and the 2.3 surrounding acres were declared a national monument in recognition of the importance of the Lincolns time here and notable decisions Abraham Lincoln made during his residency here. Immediately thereafter the shorthand name changed from Anderson to Lincoln Cottage. The official name is now President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers Home.

Pictured below: North Portico in 2003 (left) and 2007.

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