Fine Paints of Europe has enjoyed a working relationship with the National Trust for Historic Preservation since the early 90’s. We have had the honor on several occasions to supply paints for significant National Trust properties.
In 2004 our exterior paint system was selected for the President Lincoln and Soldier’s Home National Monument in Washington, DC. We were fascinated to discover that during the Civil War years Lincoln resided from June through November in this "cottage" on the property of the Soldier’s Home in Washington. During these troubled years this cottage served as a refuge for a beleaguered President. While residing in this cottage, Lincoln rendered some of his most important decisions about the course of the war and the direction of our democracy, including the revolutionary Emancipation Proclamation.
Lincoln was joined in the cottage by his wife Mary and son Ted as well as a contingent of active duty soldiers who served as his personal body guards. This location of pastoral beauty with sweeping views of Washington also served Lincoln as a private place for meetings with political allies and adversaries. Soldiers first hand accounts refer to Lincoln wandering the Soldier’s Home property after midnight, lost in thought and oblivious to the dangers that lurked around him. Concurrently the bodies of Union and some Confederate soldiers arrived daily for burial in the Soldier’s Home cemetery – first national cemetery – where over 5,000 were interred.
In 1999, the Armed Forces retirement home formally requested the National Trust for Historic Preservation to steward this sites preservation and development. In 2000, the site topped the National Trust’s annual list of "America’s Most Endangered Historic Places". A surprising amount of the cottage’s historic fabric is intact, but it was imperiled by deterioration over time and lack of resources to perform crucial repairs. Shortly thereafter, President Clinton designated the cottage and 2.3 surrounding acres as a National Monument in recognition of the site’s role as Lincoln’s presidential retreat. While there are other sites and monuments with ties to Lincoln in Washington, DC and elsewhere in the United States, the Soldiers’ Home is the only site in the country - other than the White House - with strong personal and intellectual ties to the Lincoln presidential years.
The National Trust’s vision for this National Monument includes total interior and exterior restoration which will allow the cottage to be opened to visitors. Ultimately the Trust hopes to include a Visitor’s Center which exhibits that explore the ideas and actions of this great President in the context of Civil War Washington.
All woodwork at the Lincoln Cottage was painted with a system consisting of FPE Oil primer/undercoat and Hollandlac brilliant enamel. The system is expected to yield 12 to 15 year of beauty and protection. The property has just enjoyed a total exterior restoration by the general contracting firm of J.S. Cornell & Sons, Inc. of Philadelphia, specialist in historic preservation. Work includes new stucco work, roofing and repainting of exterior woodwork with Fine Paints of Europe primers and exterior paints. For further information about the President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home National Monument, please contact Sophia Lynn (project manager) by phone (202) 829-0436, email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or regular mail at the President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home National Monument, AFRH-W 1315, 3700 N. Capitol Street, NW, Washington, DC 20011-8400.
You may also be interested in listening to a NPR segment on President Lincoln's Cottage that aired nationally on July 20, 2009.