Ford's Theatre is the site of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865 by Confederate sympathizer and actor, John Wilkes Booth. Originally named, Ford's New Theatre, Ford's was built by Baltimore theater entrepreneur John T. Ford on the site of the First Baptist Church (built 1833, abandoned 1859, converted 1862 to Ford's Atheneum, burned 1862).
Construction on the structure that still stands today began in 1863 and James J. Gifford served as the builder and architect. It was modeled after the design of Baltimore's Holliday Street Theatre. The unfinished building seized in July of 1865 by order of the Secretary of War and the interior was torn out in August of 1865. The building was then converted to a three-story office building housing the Army Medical Museum and Surgeon General (1866-87).
A section of the interior collapsed in 1893 killing 22 people. Alterations to the building, including the facade were made in 1894. Ford's was used for storage until it was transferred to National Park Service in 1931. It was then restored in 1967 to its 1865 appearance.
Ford's Theatre is 3 stories, brick, and has a gable roof with prominent ventilators. There is a pedimented facade with brick pilasters, arcaded street level, and cast iron and stone Italianate trim.
DC listing: November 8, 1964
National Historic Site designation and National Register listing: October 15, 1966 (documented January 21, 1982)
DC designation: June 19, 1973