President Lincoln's Cottage Shaken Up By August Earthquake

When a 5.8 magnitude earthquake sent powerful tremors through Washington, D.C., on August 23, President Lincoln's Cottage and historic buildings near the National Trust Historic Site sustained significant damage. The 1842 Gothic Revival cottage, which served as a place of respite for Abraham Lincoln and his family during his presidency, and later for presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and Chester A. Arthur, sustained interior damage estimated in the thousands of dollars, while the 1850s Sherman Building, part of the Armed Forces Retirement Home campus, was hardest hit, with as much as $17 million worth of damage.

No one was injured when the earthquake hit, but it left cracks in the plaster and underlying bricks, damaged woodwork and window casings, and loosened debris that fell through chimneys in many of the cottage's rooms. At the Sherman Building nearby, large pieces of stone and debris tumbled from the structure. Two additional contributing buildings to the site's National Historic Landmark status, the Italianate-style Quarters One and Quarters Two, were also damaged. The cottage's 1905 Visitor Education Center was unharmed.

Follow site director Erin Carlson Mast around the grounds as she details the earthquake's impact. To find out more about the fund to support ongoing preservation efforts at President Lincoln's Cottage, including restoration of earthquake-damaged sections of the property,  click here.

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