MICHIGAN CITY | A few months ago I was contacted by Mayor Meer to form a committee to help facilitate an event and to gauge our communities interest. We have been meeting since August 2013 and we have found a great deal of interest throughout the entire county. Now, we are reaching out the community to ask you to assist in an event that will take place on May 1st.
The President Lincoln funeral train traveled from Washington DC to Springfield, IL and one of the stops, 150 years ago, was in Michigan City.
The anniversary is in 2015, however, in 2014 the locomotive will travel, on the back of a flatbed truck, from Ohio to Elgin, IL and it will stop in Michigan City on May 1st. It will be in Michigan City at Lighthouse Place Premium Outlet, north parking lot (corner of US Route 12 and Wabash Street) from 9 am until 6 pm for people to view and that will be an opportunity for the committee to raise some money. This event in 2014 is a big deal. The locomotive will only stop in 3 cities on its way to Elgin and Michigan City is one of them. Before the locomotive (which has spent the winter in Ohio) leaves, it will be in front of the Ohio State Capitol Building in Columbus, then that evening a reception will be hosted in the statehouse. On April 26-27 it will visit Indianapolis where it will be placed on rail between Fishers and Noblesville. Last stop before going to Elgin and then on to the west coast for the remainder of 2014 is Michigan City.
In 2015 the entire train will travel the original route and stop in Michigan City on May 1st.
As the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and funeral approaches, The Historic Railroad Equipment Association has been preparing for a re-creation of the path the President’s funeral train took from Washington D.C. to Lincoln’s home town of Springfield, Illinois. One of the final stops made was in Michigan City on May 1, 1865.
Master mechanic Dave Kloke of Elgin, Illinois is an avid Lincoln enthusiast and began to build an exact replica of the original funeral train locomotive nearly 15 years ago as a hobby, which then became a mission. The original Leviathan locomotive did not pull President Lincoln's funeral train. That locomotive was not completed until 1868. However, the Leviathan is the same model of locomotive (a "4-4-0" in train-speak) as those that pulled the original train.
Now Kloke and his team at the Historic Railroad Equipment Association, a registered 501(c)3 organization, are working to finish the funeral car, The United States. It is the centerpiece of The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train. The organization hopes a preliminary run of the route with the Leviathan, will take place in 2014, and the actual route with the fully completed train on the dates the original train rode beginning April 21, 2015.
Committees throughout the communities the funeral train ran are being formed to help organize and prepare for this historic event. The LaPorte County Lincoln Funeral Train Committee was formed with representatives from several organizations throughout LaPorte County to help ensure the project is completed and that the train will follow, as closely as possible, the original route through LaPorte County. One of the stops will be in Michigan City as it did in 1865.
Donations are being sought to help this not-for-profit endeavor fund the building of the Lincoln funeral train, as well as costs involved in taking the train along its historic route, which will include LaPorte County. There are many donation levels available. Please consider a donation and be a part of this historic re-creation.
Donations can be made online at or www.the2015lincolnfuneraltrain.com you can make your check out to The Historic Railroad Equipment Association and send it to: Historic Railroad Equipment Association, 1325 Spaulding Road, Elgin, IL 60120.
Please let the committee know if you make a donation so the committee can track the progress of La Porte County’s participation. Contact Jane Daley at the LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 219-872-5055 Ext 307, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org