March 20, 2015

A Royal Visit to President Lincoln's Cottage

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Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla speak with Erin Carlson Mast, executive director of President Lincoln's Cottage.

What’s more fun than visiting historic sites? Visiting them with the British Royal Family, of course.

As part of their four-day tour of the United States, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla visited President Lincoln’s Cottage, a National Trust Historic Site, on Thursday morning.

Just before 10:30, the royal couple strolled smoothly across the grounds and onto the porch of President Lincoln’s Cottage. They were greeted by Erin Carlson Mast, the site’s director, who spoke about the cottage’s history and preservation.

From 1862 to 1864, Lincoln used the cottage as a summer home to escape the heat of downtown DC. It is also where he developed and drafted the Emancipation Proclamation.

In fact, many of the royal site visits during this trip include links to history and historic preservation -- a particular interest of the Prince of Wales. The Prince heads several charities centered on the built environment in Britain, including the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, which focuses on saving and restoring historic buildings for modern reuse.

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The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited several historic sites in the Washington, DC area.

In a larger sense, the royal visit is meant to maintain partnership between the United States and Britain on issues like climate change and sustainability, as well as to promote cultural links. Historic preservation in particular, it seems, is a big part of the agenda.

Before visiting Lincoln’s Cottage on Thursday, Charles and Camilla stopped at George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Virginia on Wednesday, where they toured the house and visited Washington's tomb.

The couple also traveled to Louisville, Kentucky on Friday, March 20, where they attended a speech by National Trust President and CEO, Stephanie Meeks announcing Louisville as the National Trust’s newest National Treasure.

Meeks’ speech, and an accompanying discussion panel, centered on the opportunity to use the city of Louisville as an urban laboratory to study historic preservation as a tool to create more livable cities, and promote growth and prosperity.

David Weible is the content specialist at the National Trust, previously with Preservation and Outside magazines. His interest in historic preservation was inspired by the ‘20s-era architecture, streetcar neighborhoods, and bars of his hometown of Cleveland.

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