The Gothic Revival summer cottage of banker George Washington Riggs was constructed by carpenter William Degges in 1842-43 -- according to plans by Philadelphia architect John Skirving, a close colleague of acclaimed architect Thomas U. Walter. It was sited amidst agricultural buildings, pastures, natural woodlands, and newly introduced picturesque landscape features designed in the manner promoted by the influential landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing; some of these landscape features remain. Riggs called the house Corn Rigs, and used it as a country retreat, particularly after retiring to private life in 1848 following his firm’s great success as bankers to the federal government during the Mexican War. He sold it to the government in 1851.
The cottage served as President Lincoln’s summer retreat from 1862 to 1864, and in July 1862, Lincoln wrote his second draft of the Emancipation Proclamation here. In 1889, the Soldiers’ Home renamed it the Anderson Building in honor of Maj. General Robert Anderson. Anderson was instrumental in the establishment of the Military Asylum, and later commanded Fort Sumter at the outbreak of the Civil War. It was reopened as President Lincoln’s Cottage in 2008, following a restoration project that returned it to its Civil War appearance.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
National Monument: July 7, 2000