This is the official historical marker, but it is on the wrong side of the road and in the wrong place.
I leave in a few days for Ford's Theater and wanted to get my brain working in that direction. I wanted to show you the worst historical marker I've seen in my travels. The marker is unimpressive by design. On April 26, 1865, John Wilkes Booth, after some two weeks of eluding the authorities, was captured at Garrett's Farm. It was there he died.
A few years ago, I was shown Garrett's Farm and the spot Booth expired. The farm is long gone and replaced by a state highway. The spot of his death is hidden in a median strip between the north- and south-bound lane of Route 301. (History Geeks: that's the right highway, correct?) The barn in which he was shot is part of the south-bound lane at this point.
Getting to the site can be a challenge. There is no parking, no gift store, no rangers. You literally stop on the side of the road, cross highway traffic to the median and slog into a wooded area, follow tiny path where you arrive at a pipe. A pipe. Literally. A pipe you use for plumbing. That kind of pipe. That's it. It is illegal to place anything else there and some entity regularly removes items left at the site. On the day we were there a stone marker had been placed by a Confederate group. I've read some message boards about this stone and it gets removed and someone replaces it with another one. Some speculate that it is actually the same stone used over and over again.
The site of Booth's death. (photo courtesy Candelle Richman/Aimee Benton Alexander)
A closer look at the stone. (photo courtesy Candelle Richman/Aimee Benton Alexander)
The sign. (photo courtesy Christopher Hunter via Flickr)