It was the summer of 1867 when Mary Todd Lincoln visited Racine. Her husband, President Abraham Lincoln, had been assassinated about two years earlier. The former First Lady was still in mourning when she came here in search of a school where her son Tad could be educated.
The school she was considering was Racine College, which then occupied the site on the city’s south side that is now home to The DeKoven Center. Founded in 1852, the college had been recommended to Mrs. Lincoln and she spent several summer weeks exploring the possibilities that it, and the City of Racine, offered.
On Aug. 13 this year, Mary Todd Lincoln will return to the grounds where Racine College stood — only this time, she’ll be portrayed by Jessica Michna in a special program at The DeKoven Center. Michna, who is widely known for her impressive portrayals of First Ladies and other notable women, will portray Mrs. Lincoln in a program titled “Preserve the Union” (www.historicalfirstimpressions.com).
Mary, as played by Michna, will recall her early years and education in Lexington, Ky., and tell of her move to Springfield, Ill., where she would meet and marry the young prairie lawyer, Abraham Lincoln. She will also introduce the audience to life in Washington, regaling her listeners with stories about her boys and their father. And she will share her family’s experiences of tragic loss during what was a time of national strife for our country.
The DeKoven Center is excited to have Michna share her portrayal of Mrs. Lincoln as part of its Second Tuesdays series of free, public programs. These programs are offered on the second Tuesday of select months throughout the year and they address a wide range of topics. All Second Tuesdays events are held in Taylor Hall and begin at 10 a.m., with time for coffee and conversation, followed by the program at 10:30 a.m.
Through the door
In addition to being informative and entertaining, Second Tuesdays provide an opportunity for community members to come inside Taylor Hall, a 19th century building that originally served as a dormitory for students and faculty of Racine College. Located on the west side of The DeKoven Center’s 11-acre lakefront campus, Taylor Hall today is one of the Midwest’s most intriguing Retreat & Conference Centers. Like other campus buildings it is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the unique collection of antiques and artwork that furnish it help tell the story of the center’s heritage.
The public is invited to attend “Preserve the Union” with Jessica Michna, and to experience the facilities and atmosphere that draw people from around the country to DeKoven for retreats, conferences and more.
Stay with us
The community will have more opportunities to sample DeKoven’s hospitality beginning later this month when three of the newly-renovated apartments become available for short-term rentals via Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com).
Two of the fully-furnished units are located in the gatehouse on the south end of DeKoven’s campus. Both of these one-bedroom apartments offer historic charm, along with home-like comfort, fully-updated kitchens and plenty of natural light coming in through the windows. A third short-term rental apartment is in DeKoven’s East buildings, facing Lake Michigan. This two-bedroom unit offers more space, along with lake views.
Whether a person is looking for unique accommodations for out-of-town guests or are in search of their own tranquil respite from everyday life, DeKoven’s Airbnb units are a great option. For more about them, contact Mandy Tutas, DeKoven’s event manager, at email@example.com or 262-633-6401, ext. 102.