Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for November, 2015

Lincoln Funeral Car Travels Original Route 150 Years Later

UNITED STATES, Lincoln's Funeral Car stopped in Dover, Ohio at Warther's Museum in 2015.

Lincoln’s Funeral Car stopped in Dover, Ohio at Warther Museum

Now he belongs to the ages – or maybe to the angels.

At the time of Lincoln’s death,  these words are sometimes credited to Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s Secretary of War, but whether they are his or not, the words connect Lincoln to his peers and also to those above them.

Warther Museum recently hosted one of the stops for the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train. It traveled from Washington D.C. to Springfield, IL in honor of the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s death. Over 50,000 visitors toured the Lincoln Funeral Car on its journey.

Warther carved this ivory replica train at the age of 80.

Warther carved this ivory replica train when he was 80.

People have always been fascinated with Lincoln’s Funeral since 1865. Ernest Warther carved Lincoln’s funeral train out of ivory to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of his death. Therefore, they thought it would be fitting to have the replica of the original, stop by Warther Museum on its journey across America.

The ivory carving was finished in 1975 when Earnest Warther was 80 years old. A hippo’s ivory eye tooth was used because it is the very best grade of ivory. Warther commented, “Nothing but the best for Lincoln” as Lincoln was his hero.

Warther admired Abraham Lincoln and had a vast collection relating to the president.

Warther admired Abraham Lincoln and had a vast collection relating to the president.

For the 150th Anniversary, outside the museum sat a wooden replica car, which they tried to keep as close as possible to the original.  The train car traveled as the trailer of a semi with highway wheels attached.

Dave Kloke of Kloke Locomotive Works in Elgin, IL and a staff of craftsmen were responsible for most of the work on this replica, which took four years to finish. Along the way he had a great deal of help from researchers in construction and history. One of those was a chemist and model train maker, Wayne Wesolowski of University of Arizona. All Wesolowski could find of the original train car was a pencil sized piece of wood. From this the chemist in him determined the original color and type of wood used. He wanted everything to match the original car.

This armored car was compared to Air Force One in regards to security and its design equaled the opulence of railroad cars used by European Royalty. This “Presidential Car” contained three rooms: parlor, stateroom, and sitting room.

The Lincoln coffin was 6'8

The Lincoln coffin was 6’8″ long with handles made by the same company that made the original ones.

Upon entering the car, a 6’8″ casket appeared before your eyes. This long casket was made especially for Lincoln, a tall man for his time. The handles were made by the same company that made the original ones for Lincoln’s coffin. Chairs were for the soldiers to sit as they guarded the coffin during its entire journey.

Lincoln felt this train too luxurious when the country suffering from the effects of the Civil War.

Lincoln felt this train too luxurious when the country suffered from the Civil War.

The presidential bedroom had never been used as President Lincoln felt this Presidential Car was too luxurious when many in the country were living in poverty. This funeral car, draped in black crepe, was one of nine cars in the funeral procession and was always the second to last in line.

Young Willie's coffin was carried at the place there is a sofa today.

Young Willie’s coffin was carried at the place a sofa sets today.

Son Willy’s coffin was also on this train even though he had died three years previously. It was in the living room section where it replaced the couch. Lincoln’s wife did not go on this trip as she was too distraught.

Even the wheels of the train were patriotic.

Even the wheels of the train were patriotic.

This car was never used for anything else or by any other presidents. The following year, it sold for $6850 to Union Pacific Railroad, where it became an officers’ car while building the Transcontinental Railroad. After being displayed at the Worlds Fair in 1904, a grass fire destroyed the train car at Minneapolis in 1911.

One of the main purposes of this excursion was to help young people learn about history. Many local schools took advantage of this unique educational stop in Dover, Ohio to give their students a close look at an oft told story in United States history.

Lincoln would have been pleased as he felt education very important. When speaking to a university he remarked, “A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish and facility for successfully pursuing the yet unsolved ones.”

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Always Veterans Day at Dreamsville, USA

Dennison Depot welcomes guests to its train car museum.

Dennison Depot welcomes guests to its museum located inside train cars.

Every day is Veterans Day at Dreamsville, USA. At Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, veterans are welcome at no cost every day of the year.

Treating our soldiers, sailors and marines in a special way began here way back during WWI. Dennison just happened to be halfway between Pittsburgh and Columbus on the Pennsylvania Railroad, so the train needed to stop here for refueling. That gave opportunity for the Red Cross to open a canteen to give food and cheer to the servicemen on board. A little eight year old girl, Lucille, helped her mother bring food to the troops. From April to October in 1919, over 136,000 servicemen were served.

This picture from the WWII Canteen stop shows the GIs receiving food and cheer.

This picture from the WWII Canteen stop shows the GIs receiving food and cheer.

This shows the same restored area today.

This shows the same restored area today.

Things moved up a gear during WWII, when that grown up Lucille proposed the idea for the Dennison Servicemen’s Canteen, which the Salvation Army then operated as the trains rushed in. The canteen served  all the GIs when the train stopped. Her idea inspired other cities across the country to set up canteens for points of cheer along the way. This Dennison Servicemen’s Canteen served over 1.3 million servicemen during WWII.

When the conductor called, “Dennison, next stop”, young men in all branches of the service put on their coats, combed their hair, and straightened their hats. The friendly, smiling girls meeting them reminded them of their moms, sisters, and girlfriends..and there was free food. A dream come true! Thus the name Dreamsville, USA.

Some were away from home for the first time so the stop greatly touched their lives. When the train stopped 600-800 young men would step off and get in line for a lunch bag, handshake, and warm smile.

This display inside the museum depicts life at that time.

This display inside the museum depicts life at that time.

At the Dennison Depot from 1942-1946, four thousand volunteers helped with the canteen. Farmers donated crops from their gardens and orchards, while women baked cookies even though sugar was scarce. A little bit from a lot of people made a big difference.

It didn’t matter what time of the day or night the train arrived, women in white uniforms waited to give the servicemen a touch of home. 24/7, these volunteers served a cup of hot coffee and a lunch bag that included things like fruit, bologna or cheese sandwiches, eggs, doughnuts or cookies.

When the people of Dennison restored this site, they saved a national treasure. Today this is the only remaining canteen site that reflects this WWII heritage.

Lucille's menu tells the story and lists some special GI sandwiches.

Lucille’s menu tells the story and lists some special GI sandwiches.

Have lunch at the station’s friendly diner called Lucille’s, in honor of the WWII founder, and veterans even get a free piece of pie. While eating a Boogie Woogie Bacon Cheeseburger or a Gunner Hot Dog, listen to music of the 40s in the midst of a room filled with posters from the war era. Their menu states:

Lucille knew that a hot cup of coffee and a smile would make a world of difference to the servicemen passing through Dennison. We hope our coffee and smiles make your day just as special.

Dennison Depot Museum is located in Dennison, Ohio  not far from I-77.  Take exit 81, 36 East, to the Dennison exit. Turn right on Second Street and continue on Second Street until you reach the tracks. Turn left on Center Street and after two blocks you will see the museum. Parking is on the left side of the street.

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