Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site | HISTORY ON FOOT

History on Foot's Detective James McDevitt

History on Foot’s Detective James McDevitt

Due to the coronavirus situation, History On Foot tours have been cancelled for 2020.

The Ford’s Theatre Society conducts a walking tour of downtown Washington, D. C., from March through October that focuses on various sites pertinent to the Lincoln assassination. Tours are led by a knowledgeable guide dressed in period costume who plays the part of a real person who was involved in the events of April 14, 1865. Currently (2020), the character is Detective James McDevitt, a police detective who was on duty the night of the assassination.

History on Foot is not operated by the National Park Service, so expect ticket prices in line with typical tours operated for a profit ($18/ticket at the time of this writing). Tickets can be ordered on-line at the History on Foot web page for Ford’s Theatre. Large groups can book private tours by calling the theater directly. You can also purchase tickets at the theater box office. The season runs from March through October, but depending on the time of year, tours may or may not be held daily. Check the website for a schedule.

The tour begins at Ford’s Theatre and makes eight stops along the way. It does not enter the theater or any other buildings and does not include a ticket to the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site—this is a completely separate attraction. The tour route heads east to 7th Street, then south to Pennsylvania Avenue. From there it proceeds up Pennsylvania and eventually ends at Lafayette Park across from the White House, approximately a 1.6-mile walk. It does not return to the theater, so you must make your way home from the park. While the walk is a decent length, the terrain is level, city streets. If you can walk two miles, you can make it, and even those in wheelchairs can attend.

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and highly recommend it if you have the time and money and can work it into your schedule. Keep in mind that because this is not operated by the National Park Service that the guides can accept tips and are thankful for anything you can throw their way.

McDevitt discusses Ed Spangler at the back of the theater

McDevitt discusses Ed Spangler at the back of the theater

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Last updated on June 23, 2020
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