This site is the concluding stop on the tour of Ford's Theatre, across the street, and entry is only open to visitors who have their timed tickets from that tour. In other words, you can't visit the Petersen House on your own.
After Lincoln was mortally wounded at Ford's Theatre, the doctors attending him had him carried out into the street, where boarder Henry Safford, standing in the open doorway of his rooming house, gestured for them to bring the president inside. So Lincoln died in the home of William Petersen, a German-born tailor. Now furnished with period pieces, the dark, narrow town house looks much as it did on that fateful April night. It takes about 5 minutes to troop through the building. You'll see the front parlor where an anguished Mary Todd Lincoln spent the night with her son, Robert. In the back parlor, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton held a cabinet meeting and questioned witnesses. From this room, Stanton announced at 7:22am on April 15, 1865, "Now he belongs to the ages." Lincoln died, lying diagonally because he was so tall, on a bed the size of the one in the room. (The Chicago Historical Society owns the actual bed and other items from the room.) In 1896, the government bought the house for $30,000, and it is now maintained by the National Park Service.