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Places (POIs) visited during this tour

Place #1
Distance: 0.22mi , Attraction : Hotel
Map Pin
499 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
POI 1 Tour Image
The Hotel Harrington
Welcome to Historic America & UCPlaces’ audio walking tour of Pennsylvania Avenue. I’m Professional History Nerd Rachel Tracey, and I’m excited to share the historic highlights of downtown Washington DC with you. This complimentary experience is provided by the Hotel Harrington, and our tour begins right here.

The Hotel Harrington is one of the oldest in the city. Washington DC became the permanent capital of the United States in 1790, but 100 years later, the city was only just beginning to shake a reputation of being a sleepy southern town. When the Hotel Harrington opened in 1914, DC was finally coming into its own. Elegant new office buildings rose amidst 19th century theaters, shops, saloons, and newspaper offices. Nine department stores drew crowds of shoppers. 

A few blocks away, local Washingtonians and an increasing legion of tourists, marveled at the wonders on display in the Smithsonian's brand new Natural History Museum. Over the last 100 years, the hotel has been witness to, and made history. A skyscraper by DC standards, was home to the city's first television station and transmission tower. 

DuMont Corporation's W3XWT (soon renamed WTTG-TV and now known as Fox Channel 5) set up shop on the upper floors and in 1946 began broadcasting about 20 hours of programming a week. The popular and pioneering Milt Grant Show, a daily dance party featuring local teenagers and a virtual Who's Who of national stars, was transmitted live from the WTTG studios between 1956 and 1961. While some aspects of the property seem frozen in time, the harrington welcomes modern solo travelers, families, and bus loads of budget minded groups. The oldest continuously operating hotel in the city, it’s a family business that has stood the test of time, still in the hands of third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation descendants of the founders. 

The 242 room hotel is flanked by Harriet’s Family Restaurant on the 11th Street side, and Harry’s Bar on the E Street side of the building. Harriet’s is big enough to host large groups and offers catered events for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Head to Harrys for pitchers of beer, classic American bar food, free peanuts and friendly service. Tell your server you took this audio tour, and you’ll receive a QR code for a trivia challenge. The trivia questions are answered in this tour of Pennsylvania Avenue, so pay attention–Correct  answers to Trivia at Harry’s earns you drinks and discounts!


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Place #2
Distance: 0.04mi , Attraction : Theatre
Map Pin
527 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20463, USA
POI 2 Tour Image
Ford's Theatre and the Peterson House
You’re standing in front of historic Ford's Theatre. On April 14th 1865, the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was watching a play here when he was assassinated. The long and bloody American Civil War was over; just 5 days earlier at a courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia, General Grant accepted General Lee’s surrender. Washington DC was jubilant, the union preserved, the war over. Parades and parties and the promise of peace.

 Amidst the celebration, American actor, confederate sympathizer and white supremecist John Wilkes Booth, along with other co-conspirators, hatched a plan, not just to kill the President, but also targeted the Vice President and Secretary of State, the ultimate goal was to destabilize the entire federal government. 

Booth entered Lincoln's theater box, crept up from behind, and fired at the back of Lincoln's head, mortally wounding him. Lincoln's guest, Major Rathbone, momentarily grappled with Booth, but Booth stabbed him, swung down onto the stage and yelled Virginia’s state motto "Sic Semper Tyrannis!," he knocked a guy out, stole a horse, and rode off to Maryland. The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history, and Booth would meet his own death by bullet twelve days later in a burning Virginia barn. The co-conspirators were tried, and hanged. 

When Lincoln was shot, he didn’t die immediately, he was taken across the street to the Peterson House, the pinkish red brick row house across the street with green shutters. A crowd gathered to hold vigil, growing in size as the night gave way to morning's light. Lincoln died at 7:22 AM the following day, April 15th 1865. Secretary of War Stanton was by his side, he came out and told the crowd, "Now he belongs to the ages." 

Here on this block where Lincoln’s life was cut short, his legacy lives on. Ford’s Theatre and museum, as well as the Peterson House, are open daily with ticketed entry. Historic America also offers a Lincoln Assasination walking tour, please visit our website for details.

When you’re ready, use the built-in navigation to meet me at our next stop.



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Tour itinerary stops | Additional places you'll see on this self-guided tour

Map Pin Place 1 The Hotel Harrington
Map Pin Place 2 Ford's Theatre and the Peterson House
Map Pin Place 3 The FBI Building
Map Pin Place 4 The Department of Justice
Map Pin Place 5 The Old Post Office
Map Pin Place 6 Federal Triangle & The Wilson Building
Map Pin Place 7 The World War I Memorial & The Willard Hotel
Map Pin Place 8 The Old Ebbitt Grill & The Treasury
Map Pin Place 9 The White House

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