One of many interesting buildings and museums in Gettysburg is the David Wills House. We have visited this museum several times now, and always find something new that we did not see before.
The home of Gettysburg attorney David Wills was the center of the immense clean-up process after the Battle of Gettysburg and where President Lincoln put the finishing touches on his Gettysburg Address. The museum features six galleries, including two rooms that have been restored to their 1863 appearance: Wills' office, where he planned for a Soldiers' National Cemetery after the battle; and the bedroom where Lincoln stayed and prepared the Gettysburg Address. Admission to the the Wills House is free. During our visit in 2022, we brought our viewers along as we took a tour of the house.
The David Wills House is located on the "Gettysburg Diamond" at 8 Lincoln Square in Gettysburg. We have received many comments that people have been by this house on several occasions, but have never went inside. We highly recommend that you do if you have the time. You can visit the website for this location to find out the current hours of operation, and this is a FREE tour.
The "Return Visit" Statue - Pointing at the David Wills House
There is a statue of Abraham Lincoln in the square next to the David Wills house. There are many statues of Lincoln around the country, but this particular one has some interesting symbolisms.
First of all, it is pretty accurate as to the size of Abraham Lincoln (more about that later), put it depicts him pointing up to the second floor of the David Wills house as he is talking to a tourist. The placard reads:
The bronze Lincoln points with his hat to the second floor of the Wills House, where he probably finished writing the Gettysburg Address. A late twentieth-centuries tourist's eyes follows the President's uplifted hand.
Just recently we were there at the statue again. A young couple came by us as we were recoding some B-roll for our video and just looked at the statue real quick, and said to each other, "I wonder what that means, I wonder what he is pointing at?" Of course, I had to stop them for a brief moment and explain, "He is pointing up to the second floor there, telling that busy tourist, this is where I stayed and finished the Gettysburg Address."
Unfortunately, the Wills House was closed at the time; however, later on I did notice them come back to the spot and find the placard.
J. Seward Johnson. Jr. was commissioned by the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania to make this statue. It is one of the most true-to-life statues of Abraham Lincoln. A cast of Lincoln's face from 1865 (before his passing) and his hands from 1860 were used as starting points for the statue. Johnson even used an outline of Lincoln's boots from Lincoln's boot maker to get the correct size for the feet.
There are many artifacts within the museum, including one of our Lincoln favorites. This is the actual wool saddle cover used by Abraham Lincoln when he rode from the David Wills House down to the Soldiers' National Cemetery for the dedication ceremony.
They even still have the "original" skeleton key to the room that Lincoln used when he stayed at the house.
The Lincoln Bedroom and furniture - In the David Wills House
It is rare to actually witness in person the actual furniture that was in place at the time; however, this is the actually bed that Lincoln used and most of the furniture that was in the room the night he stayed at the Wills house.
If you are interested in these artifacts and more about David Wills and his family, we highly recommend that you visit this location in person, watch our video above, and click on the "More Photos" button below to see more pictures that Marianne took inside the building. You may see some duplications since we have visited this location on multiple times throughout the years. Let us know down in the comments if you have been there yourself.