While we are very fortunate that the former Surratt boarding house on H. Street in Washington, D.C. is still standing today, we all know it is nothing but a shell of what it was in Lincoln’s day. The interior has been altered many times, even as recent as September of this year.
Aside from modern upgrades and advertising awnings for the Wok ‘N Roll, however, the exterior of the building is still very much identifiable as the former boarding establishment of Mary Surratt. The biggest exterior difference between its 1865 appearance and now, is the removal of the stairs and the first floor entrance.
While researching today, I came across the following picture which shows the boarding house with its stairs only recently removed:
When this picture was taken, you could still see the first floor door and the beautiful moulding around it but it no longer served as an entrance to the house unless a passerby was willing to give you a leg up. This was a transitional time for the building, and soon after the “phantom” door would be replaced by a window making the building closer to what we know it to be today.
The Suppressed Truth about the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln by Burke McCarty
In the late 1920’s the Surratt House was raided and padlocked by federal authorities for housing large stocks of paraphernalia being used to violate prohibition laws. During the 1970’s the house was raided on account of numbers racketeering. According to the February, 1999, Surratt Courier, since “becoming a nice Chinese restaurant in the 1980’s, we have only heard good things….”