Today is my sixth housiversary! I closed on this 120-year-old beauty – full of hidden charm and stories – six years ago today. Last year’s fifth housiversary felt like a bigger deal, but I’m still feeling nostalgic today.
As I sit at my desk, I hear train horns echoing across the river as they rattle into Elgin. I chose my location in part for its proximity to such trains, as the 7-minute walk to the Metra station is easy. (While I now only commute one day a week, I have made that walk hundreds of times in six years, from sunrise to sleetset.)
I grew fascinated by the people on the trains, watching the same people interact day in, day out. I even came up with standard descriptors for the late-night crowd.
I’ve really been surprised by how many other people are intrigued by trains. Sure, little kids’ eyes widen when the see the train, but there are quite a few grown-ups who are also captivated.
Which brings me to the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train. A group is building a replica of the train that carried President Lincoln back home to Illinois after his 1865 death. Lincoln’s funeral procession traveled 1600 miles from Washington, DC to Springfield, IL, stopping in 12 major cities for memorial services.
President Lincoln played a major role in promoting railroads, and was instrumental in making the transcontinental railroad a reality. And Illinois, of course, was the crossroads of the system. You can still observe this, riding a Metra train as it slithers through the railyards on the west side of Chicago.
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the funeral train procession, the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train group is preparing to embark on a similar procession with a replica train in April 2015.
Right now, there’s a replica of the 1860s locomotive, the Leviathan63, available for viewing at Elgin’s Gail Borden Library on Saturday, April 21. The group is also hosting a fundraising dinner – complete with an Abraham Lincoln impersonator – that evening to raise funds for the project.
Tickets are available online or at Ace Hardware (Spring and Lillian locations), the Elgin Historical Society, and Miller Insurance Services at 1108 Larkin.
I’m eager to see how the procession unfolds.