Hidden history at Fort McNair
May 9, 2014
More than a hundred visitors from all around the country came to witness an historic little known piece of history that is nestled in the Nation's Capital.
An inaugural open house of Grant Hall's third-floor courtroom was hosted by Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commander Col. Fern O. Sumpter at the Fort McNair portion of JBM-HH, May 3, 2014.
Grant Hall's newly renovated courtroom is where the trials were held for those thought responsible for the plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
"I just came up from Florida and happened to look up Grant Hall on the internet," said Robert L. Bass, Grant Hall visitor. "This has to be the best thing I've seen in Washington D.C. Absolutely fabulous!"
"Virginia [wife] and I came here from Oregon to see Grant Hall," said William Miller, Grant Hall visitor. "I'm actually a distant relative of Dr. Mudd. We've been going around to all the historic areas from that time. What a great piece of history."
Certain furnishings and artifacts that were on display are on loan from the production company of the 2011 movie Conspirator, and others are from the National Defense University Library.
Due to the fact that Grant Hall is a historical structure, there were no elevators, but there was a room on first floor that had historic documentation, photos and an IPAD with photos of the courtroom for the visitors with mobility restrictions.
Volunteer historians were on hand to give visitors in-depth information about the trials, the artifacts and what Grant Hall looked like in the 1800s.
"The historians were absolutely amazing," said Bass. "When more people find out about this place and how great of an experience this was, you will be in trouble. You'll have more people than you can count."
"I definitely learned some new things from the historians," said Miller. "We were just lucky that we were in this area at the same time as the Grant Hall open house."
The next Grant Hall open house is scheduled for August 2014.