ELGIN, Ill. (AP) — To mark the 150th anniversary of
President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination next year, an Illinois man is
constructing a full-size replica of the funeral train car that carried the
president’s body from Washington, D.C., to his final resting place in
David Kloke is leading an effort to recreate the historic
funeral procession attended by 3 million Americans who camped by train tracks
waiting for the fallen president in 1865. The train car is scheduled for
completion by 2015, kicking off a nationwide traveling exhibit tour, the
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reported.
“I like Lincoln. I was always inspired by him,” said Kloke,
of Bartlett. “He did a lot more than the slavery issue for this country.”
Kloke is the owner of Kloke Locomotive Works in Elgin, a
business that builds historic trains. Planning for the project began about five
years ago when Kloke, with the help of about a dozen volunteers, began reviewing
drawings and photographs of the original car in his shop.
He said the plan is to have a historic locomotive pull the
car from Washington to Baltimore. It then will be trucked to Springfield for
display in May. After that, the exhibit tour will begin when the train car
travels across the country.
Dubbed “The Lincoln Special,” the original train car was
built in 1864 with the intention that it would be an office car for the
president. Lincoln never used it, saying it was too fancy during war time. The
car burned in a prairie fire in Minnesota in 1911.
Bill Werst, executive director of the Lincoln Train Project,
a nonprofit group created to fund the project, said the train will be put on
rails and available for visitors to ride.
The group has raised more than $100,000 for the project, but
needs about $600,000 total. Werst said he is confident they will raise enough
money to complete the project.
“It’s an educational project,” he said. “We’re not looking
to make money on it. We’re looking to expose as many people as possible to
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