The David Wills House
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: The David Wills House
The David Wills House, a National Park Service museum in downtown Gettysburg, opened on Feb. 12, 2009 — the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday. The Wills House offers visitors a world-class museum experience that tells the story of David Wills, Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address.
The home of Gettysburg attorney David Wills was not just in the center of the battle. It was one of the sites of the immense clean-up process after the Battle of Gettysburg and was the place where Abraham Lincoln put the finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address.
Admission tickets for the Wills House can be purchased at the ticket counter in the lobby of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center or at the Wills House, 8 Lincoln Square, Gettysburg.
FREE transportation to David Wills House on Freedom Transit Shuttle
Ride the Freedom Transit shuttle to the David Wills House, at no cost.
Freedom Transit provides public transportation on three fixed routes to help visitors and residents navigate to major destinations through the Gettysburg community. Freedom Transit schedules can be found at ridethetrolley.com or call 1-800-632-9063.
The David Wills Story
The Civil War came to David Wills’ doorstep when, according to Wills, he saw “a group of rebels with an axe break open the store door” belonging to one of his tenants. Local residents of Gettysburg huddled in his cellar as the battle raged around the town. After the battle, David Wills gathered and stored supplies for the wounded and lobbied for compensation for farmers and field owners who suffered losses to property during the battle. Wills also solicited the help of Pennsylvania Gov. Andrew Curtin for caring for the dead from Pennsylvania. Curtin designated Wills as an agent of the state and delegated him to the task of properly burying the dead.
The idea for creating a permanent national cemetery for the Union dead at Gettysburg was offered during a meeting at the Wills House with other agents of Pennsylvania. Gov. Curtin approved the idea and gave David Wills the authority to manage the construction of the cemetery. Wills invited President Abraham Lincoln to speak at the dedication of the cemetery in Nov. 1863 and hosted Lincoln at his downtown Gettysburg home.
What Can We See Inside the David Wills House?
The David Wills House Museum features six galleries, including two rooms that have been restored to their 1863 appearance: Wills’ office, where he received letters from families seeking loved ones after the battle and began planning for the national cemetery; and the bedroom where Lincoln stayed and prepared to deliver the Gettysburg Address.
Contact the David Wills House
The Gettysburg Foundation works in partnership with the National Park Service to operate the David Wills House. The Wills House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
717-334-2436 or 877-874-2478
8 Lincoln Square, Gettysburg
Seniors & Military: $5.50
Youth (ages 6-18): $4
Child (ages 5 and under): Free
Hours of Operation
January - February
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
(Open Martin Luther King Day & Presidents Day)
Thursday through Monday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
April/September - October
Wednesday-Monday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
May - August
Open Daily: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
November - December
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
(Open on Veteran's Day and the Friday following Christmas)