It has been 150 years since President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Wednesday, Dauphin County and state officials are remembering the beloved president and commemorating the funeral train that passed through our area.
Following the assassination of President Lincoln 150 years ago, a special funeral train carried his body from Washington, D.C. to his hometown of Springfield, Illinois, making stops at major cities along the way including Harrisburg.
The Lincoln funeral train commemoration is part of Dauphin County’s four year Freedom Jubilee, a series of special events highlighting the Capital Region’s pivotal role in the Civil War and anti-slavery movement. The Lincoln funeral train is called America’s largest funeral. It took 12 days including its stops, for the train to get from Washington to Springfield. The first overnight stop was Harrisburg where 40,000 people reportedly lined the tracks to see the train come through the area and nearly 10,000 people went to see Lincoln’s coffin when he laid in state at the House of Representatives in the building that was then the Capitol.
This month at the Harris Cameron Mansion on Front Street, there is an exhibit on the Lincoln funeral train that features artifacts like a handkerchief that was laid over Lincoln’s face after he died, a funeral train schedule and mourning ribbons worn by people who came to honor the President.
The Historical Society of Dauphin County is aiming to give the public a sense of Harrisburg’s significance during that time of shock and deep sorrow for the country.
“We hope that people will understand how important Harrisburg was at that time,” Dauphin County Historical Society Executive Director Nicole McMullen said. “It was a major capital city and an important stop for the Lincoln funeral train and to understand just how important Lincoln was to the populace, they say that millions of people came out to see the Lincoln train and to honor his passing.”
Dauphin County and state officials will gather at 11:45 Wednesday morning to remember President Lincoln and commemorate the Lincoln funeral train in the Rotunda of the Main Capitol Building.