The Lincoln Assassination on Aerial America

Aerial America Logo

Aerial America is a stunningly beautiful television show on the Smithsonian Channel. The premise of the show is simple: use awe inspiring aerial photography to tell compelling stories of a state’s varied history. The series, which premiered in 2010, has featured each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and has also expanded into other destinations. The hour long episodes feature exquisite fly overs of historic sites and vistas, along with a compelling retelling of their significance.

On April 26, 2015, the episode devoted to Washington, D.C. aired for the first time.  It was ironic date for the show to debut because not only is April 26 the same day John Wilkes Booth was cornered and killed, but the episode itself featured a five minute segment about Lincoln’s assassination and Booth’s escape. The episode provided beautiful shots of Ford’s Theatre, Baptist Alley behind Ford’s, the Surratt Tavern, Dr. Mudd’s House, Rich Hill, and Grant Hall where the trial of the conspirators occurred. Here are some screen grabs of the episode:

Ford's Theatre 1 Aerial America

Ford's Theatre 2 Aerial America

Baptist Alley Aerial America

Surratt House 1 Aerial America

Surratt House 2 Aerial America

Mudd House 1 Aerial America

Mudd House 2 Aerial America

To see the episode images of Col. Samuel Cox’s home of Rich Hill, please visit the Friends of Rich Hill blog post entitled, Rich Hill on Aerial America. and please consider following the Friends of Rich Hill blog to stay up to date with our rehabilitation of the home.

Grant Hall Aerial America

The episode also contained some generic shots of woods, swamps, and farms to represent other areas of the escape route but were clearly not the real places they were describing. Still, the five minute segment gave a wonderful look at part of the escape of John Wilkes Booth, from the unique aerial perspective.

You can visit the Aerial America page of the Smithsonian Channel’s website to check for future airings of the Washington, D.C. episode (next one appears to be November 28th at 5:00 pm EST).  You can also purchase the episode through video streaming websites like Amazon Video.

Categories: News | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “The Lincoln Assassination on Aerial America

  1. Pingback: Rich Hill on Aerial America | Friends of Rich Hill

  2. Kathy Canavan

    Dave, These are amazing. Thanks for showing them. Kathy

  3. I love Aerial America. I did see the Washington DC episode. I thought it was very informative. Makes me want to visit DC again. 🙂

    • I was surprised that they featured the assassination sites outside of D.C. but perhaps they were making up for the fact that when they did an episode on Maryland, they combined it with Delaware. It is the only Aerial America episode to be devoted to two states, so perhaps they had the footage left over or felt bad for short changing Maryland.

  4. Richard Sloan

    cool! You can see some of these places well enuf on Google earth satlellite, but some times trees and other towering structures get in the way and you have to “learn” how to use the mouse and the navigator wheel in the upper right corner of the screen. Of course, you have to give the pgm specific info as to location, which is quite a challenge. I have taken an aerial trip along the route of the Manhattan Lincoln funeral procession. When I get to a site, I can come down to street level and then back up. Try it with the Google satellite. Thanx for this info about the episode. SOunds great.

    • Richard,

      I use Google Maps all the time in my research. I find it especially helpful to trying to determine where a specific grave is in a cemetery. If someone has taken a photograph of a grave showing some of the landscape and graves around it, I can use a satellite image to determine where the original grave is. It takes awhile and I’m not always successful, but whenI do find it, it is very rewarding. Then I transform the grave location into GPS coordinates so I can find it exactly on my next visit.

  5. Wade Kirby

    Again, top notch…top notch. And that’s what were learning to expect from you Dave. Congrats!

    • Well thank you, Wade, but I didn’t have anything to do with this episode. I just learned about it and decided to post about it. I appreciate the thought, though.

  6. Paige

    Remarkable images; really beautiful. It’s interesting how places we’ve seen so many times can become new again simply by changing the angle at which we see them. I find it amazing how these different views can offer so much insight and allow for so much imagination. Thank you, Dave.

    • Paige,

      I’ll be honest and say that this episode really rekindled an idea that I’ve had to document parts of the escape route using drone photography. I’d love to get some more of these aerial views for other sites. Unfortunately I know nothing about drones or how much they cost but it’s something I’ll likely look into.


      • Paige

        Dave– that sounds great. If you decide to buy one and you get some pictures, please share.

        • Paige,

          I looked into it and man, those camera drones are expensive. I think I’ll have to keep the idea of capturing parts of the escape route from the air as a dream for now.

          • Paige


            I looked at some drones too; I didn’t know how much drones cost, but I was surprised at the prices on some of them with cameras. Coincidentally, I came across an article about drones the other day and it caught my attention. If you google, “Feds to require drone registration after close calls” you can see the write up online.

    • Mike

      I’m amazed at how the Ford’s Theater is dwarfed by the surrounding buildings, something I never even noticed from street level!

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