Saturday, June 28, 2008

Does Lincoln Haunt The White House?

I got in a discussion the other day … This man I know just returned from a vacation in Washington D.C.

On their last day there, this man and his family managed to be included in a tour of the White House. While they were taking the tour, their guide “casually” mentioned that for many years the ghost of Abraham Lincoln had been seen wandering up and down the halls he knew so well and – of course – had been seen in the famous Lincoln bedroom.

The man told me all this in hushed tones, apparently not wanting others to share in this little knowledge which is a dangerous thing..

Matching the intensity of his disclosure, I informed the man that there was not one hall in the White House that Lincoln today would have recognized, that in fact the former President had never even been IN the Lincoln bedroom, and that my acquaintance, although well traveled, and certainly interesting as a conversationalist, was gullible, naive, and apparently dumb as a stick.

He asked me to substantiate my claim (regarding Lincoln, I presume.)

Here ‘tis.

The White House was built – more or less – by the year 1800. It was partially burned by the British, repaired, and remained the home of U.S. Presidents for the next 150 years.

When Harry Truman became president, the 150-year-old wooden structure was literally condemned. Several smaller floors had buckled, and the entire building was in danger of collapse.
President Truman was never a man to do things half way. By 1950 he had the White House gutted – not remodeled, but the ENTIRE interior was removed, and the rotting wood supports were replaced with steel.

Outside, the building looked like this.

Inside, the building looked like this. The Lincoln bedroom, by the way, is on the top row of windows to the right.

So … can anyone point out to me which of these hallways Lincoln was known to frequent?

But … I’m really trying to be fair here. Maybe the ghost of our 16th president IS trying to revisit the floors and walls he knew so well. Anybody hear stories about a tall man with a beard hovering around any landfills in Arlington, Virginia?

And how was your day?

1 comment:

Nicki said...

Wow, I had no idea that the White House had been so gutted...that's incredible. Although I have heard that Lincoln haunts the perhaps he was haunting a bed or a painting or a mirror or something.