Family home of J.W. Booth too pricey at a million dollars for preservationists

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When the family home of Abraham Lincoln's assassin was put up for auction in 1999, preservationists and prospective buyers found that the Gothic home had an appearance to match its ill-fated past: The porch was falling apart. The paint was peeling from the cracking walls. The property was in disarray.

The fate of the home, many feared, was also in danger. Historians, actors and local officials teamed up to make a play for Tudor Hall, an 8-acre property between Bel Air and Churchville, only to be trumped by a young couple who saw it as their dream house.

After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations, Robert and Beth Baker quietly put the childhood home of John Wilkes Booth and his acting kin on the market last week for $925,000. Six years later, still beaten down from their losing battle and hopelessly out-priced, preservationists said the revamped home continues to hold historic value and hope it can be reopened to the public.

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