Ford Theater scale model on display on campus

Holly Mueller

Timothy Simandl poses with his model of Ford Theater where Lincoln was shot. He said the black band on his arm and hat signified his mourning for the president. AMANDA SOWARDS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot while viewing a play at Ford Theater in Washington, D.C. Today, 141 years later, a replica of the Ford Theater is on display in Van Deusen Hall.

Timothy Simandl, guest student under the supervision of Professor Lowell Zurbuch, has created a scale model of the theater, and it is now being showcased in Van Deusen Hall.

Simandl, a 1973 graduate of Michigan State University, specialized in architecture and engineering.

Simandl said he became interested in the Ford Theater in 1968.

“The theater was frequently closed to the public for plays, and visitors were denied to see the presidential box where Lincoln was shot,” he said.

Simandl said he thought visitors would be happy to see a scale model of the theater to examine the box, since they weren’t able to go inside.

After years of working for private architectural firms, he said he ended up in Ohio.

“I found that if I worked part time on campus at Kent I could take a course on for free,” Simandl said.

Simandl said he decided to take a technology class with Zurbuch, associate professor for the School of Technology, to work on his project.

In order to be very exact in his measurements while building the model, Simandl said he asked various professors for help.

Zurbuch said he directed Simandl to Verna Fitzsimmons, associate professor for the School of Technology, for her expertise in 3-D rapid prototypes.

“She helped make my 2-D models into 3-D models made out of plaster,” Simandl said.

Simandl said he hopes his model will someday be placed at the Ford Theater.

“I’m not done with it yet,” he said. “It’d be great with sound and lights synchronized with a CD narrative of the events of the evening.”

Contact School of Technology reporter Holly Mueller at [email protected].