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Lincoln’s Hilltop Retreat Opens to the Public

Abraham Lincoln and his family spent Washington’s hottest months in a hilltop cottage three miles north of the Capitol. On Tuesday, that cottage—called President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home—will open to the public for the first time.

On the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Northwest DC, the cottage is where President Lincoln weighed his campaign managers’ advice to repeal the Emancipation Proclamation. In the July issue of The Washingtonian, historian Michael Beschloss explained why it’s his favorite spot in Washington: “In August 1864, President Lincoln was sitting in the parlor of this house at dusk, alone, facing the supreme personal crisis of his career. It was in this house that he made the fateful decision to persist. You can almost feel it when you walk inside.”

Before opening the cottage to the public, the National Trust for Historic Preservation spent seven years and $15 million restoring it. You can buy tickets ($12; $5 children) here