Friday, August 28, 2015

President Abraham Lincoln's casket (replica) for viewing at Ardenwood

To commemorate the 150thanniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln (April 30, 2015), the Batesville Casket Company created a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s coffin for the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train Commemoration.  After official 150th anniversary ceremonies in Illinois, the replica has travelled throughout the United States.  The Chapel of the Roses in Fremont asked the Patterson House at Ardenwood to host the casket while it is in the San Francisco Bay area from September 4 through September 13.  Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd, Fremont, CA just off Hywy 84. 11:30am-3:30pm  The park opens at 10 am.

Following President Lincoln's assasination on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, a casket was custom built to hold the president's remains.  The first public viewing of Lincoln was held in the  East Room of the White House on April 18, 1865. Following the funeral the coffin was transported to the Capital for another public viewing. It was decided that President Lincoln should be returned to his home in Springfield, Illinois for burial and not in Washington, D.C. as Congress had hoped.

President Lincoln’s funeral train began the long journey to Springfield on April 21, 1865. The remains of his son, Willie, who died in 1862, was taken on the train with his fathers remains.  The funeral train would travel the route that Lincoln had made as president-elect. The only changes to the route were the omission of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and the addition of Chicago.

Large funeral precessions were held at each major stop along the funeral route, as the coffin was transported from the train to the place of public viewing. Cleveland, Ohio was the only city to hold its public viewing outdoors, as they did not have a building large enough to accommodate the large crowds of mourners. Finally, on May 3, 1865, the funeral train reached its final destination of Springfield, Illinois. On May 4, 1865, President Lincoln was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

President Lincoln’s elaborate coffin was constructed of solid walnut, lined with lead and completely covered in expensive black cloth. It was six feet, six inches long and was decorated with sterling silver handles and studs extending the entire length of its sides. The center of the lid showcased a shield outlined in sterling silver studs and a sterling silver plate bearing the inscription:

It is estimated that one million people viewed President Lincoln’s body from the time of his death until his burial in Springfield, Illinois. His coffin was the most elaborate of that time. President Lincoln also had the distinction of having the largest funeral throughout the world, until President John F. Kennedy’s death in 1963.

It could be said that Abraham Lincoln’s death triggered the beginning of modern day funeral service. President Lincoln was the first public figure to be embalmed and put on view for almost three weeks. The embalming technique used on President Lincoln was primarily used on soldiers who died during the Civil War and needed to be transported home for burial. Being able to view the body for extended periods of time without being iced was the precursor for modern day funeral service. People at that time thought embalming was a barbaric violation of the body, but Lincoln’s funeral had changed that perception. President Lincoln’s public viewing introduced the population to the benefits of embalming. Mourners were able to see the late president for twenty days and embalming made it possible. 

No comments:

Post a Comment