Growing up in Kentucky, the birthplace of our 16th president, I've always had a certain fondness for the spectacular legacy of Abraham Lincoln. It's amazing that 150 years later, we're still talking about the influence he had on our country and the impact his death had on the nation. Which is why the upcoming exhibit of the Lincoln Funeral Train and Leviathan #63 locomotive is such a fantastic opportunity for people in the region to experience a piece of history. This October 8-11, the Lincoln Funeral Train will be on display right here at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana.
This is a stunningly accurate replica of the famous train car that carried Lincoln's casket through the country after his tragic death. Alongside the train is a mammoth steam engine, which is appropriately named Leviathan, built to the same specifications as the powerful trains of old. This is a grand Civil War era steam engine recreation. The train has been making a few stops throughout the country but this is the first time it will be in our area and this is the last stop of the 2015 tour.
The original train car, "United States" was built in 1863 and at the time it was state of the art, featuring a lavish stateroom that was created so President Lincoln could conduct business and meet dignitaries. It was essentially set to be the Air Force One of it's time. Unfortunately, President Lincoln never got the opportunity to use it as such and instead it became the train car that helped a nation mourn the loss of the man who led this country during it's most tumultuous period.
Although the original "United States" train car was destroyed during a fire in 1911, this replica is an exquisite recreation, featuring authentic period furnishings and detail. The Lincoln Funeral Train is a window into the past, during one of the most transformative periods in our history. In 1865 while traveling from Washington D.C., to Springfield, Illinois, the train carrying Lincoln's body only briefly passed through the Hammond area. Now this recreation will be on display for several days so anyone who wants to experience a piece of Americana has the chance to see it up close.
People continue to be mesmerized by Lincoln's influence within the country, his untimely death, and the ceremony that followed, which have etched an important memorial into our history. The Lincoln Funeral Train exhibit offers a rare glimpse back in time and is a perfect opportunity for historians, students, families and any and all who are curious about the lasting legacy of Lincoln to get a rare inside look at his final journey. Don't miss your chance to see the Lincoln Funeral Train when it arrives at the Indiana Welcome Center this October 8-11.
For more details about the Lincoln Funeral Train exhibit, including admission prices, hours of operation and other specifics, visit www.southshorecva.com/lincolntrain.
And don't forget to check out a related piece of history with the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail www.southshorecva.com/civilwartrail.
Contributing Editor: Jake Giles
Former Video Production Associate with the South Shore CVA.