The Lincoln Funeral Train
Requests for proposals to permanently house the Lincoln Funeral Car have closed.
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Elgin, Ill. – Historic Railroad Equipment Association (HREA), the all-volunteer team that built the world’s only full-scale replica of the rail car that carried President Abraham Lincoln’s body home from Washington, DC, to Springfield, Ill., recently sought proposals from organizations interested in placing the Car on permanent display.
In early 2015, HREA -- a group of historians, train buffs, Lincoln aficionados and skilled tradesmen -- accomplished what had long been talked about by others but never accomplished. They re-created President Lincoln’s funeral car at full scale and to the highest degree of accuracy possible, and they did it in time for the 150th commemoration of his Springfield funeral.
The Car’s much-anticipated debut on May 1, 2015, was the start of a five-month, 12-city tour that saw more than 52,000 visitors tour this one-of-a-kind tribute to America’s 16th president. People waiting to see the car often stood in lines that stretched for blocks, reminiscent of those from 150 years before, and the project garnered local, national and even international media coverage.
“We have always wanted [the car] to be an educational piece, a way for people to get up close to history and learn about Lincoln, and we enjoyed every stop on the 2015 tour, but it was never our intent for the car to travel for an extended period,” said Dave Kloke, the car’s builder and president of HREA. Requests continue to come in on a regular basis from communities that want to exhibit the car, though, and that hastened HREA’s decision to seek a permanent home. “We certainly want it to remain accessible to people, and the best way to do that is to place it in a permanent location. That's what is best for the Car,” Kloke said.
“HREA will evaluate all proposals that meet the RFP criteria, but we are especially interested in any that may come from those locations with direct ties to the original train,” he said. President Lincoln’s remains were displayed in Washington, DC, as well as Baltimore, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus (Ohio), Indianapolis, Chicago and Springfield, Ill.
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