150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Inaugural Journey Commemorated in Sixteen Cities This Month

Nationally-renowned Lincoln actor Fritz Klein will join NPS rangers to present the story of Lincoln's inaugural journey in 16 cities this month. NPS photo.

This month marks the 150th Anniversary of the trip by then President-elect Abraham Lincoln from Springfield, Illinois to Washington, D.C. The National Park Service will commemorate the journey by sponsoring programs from February 11 to February 23 in sixteen cities and towns where Lincoln made stops and remarks during the trip.

According to an NPS spokesperson, "The events will feature acclaimed Lincoln actor Fritz Klein, who will present what Lincoln said in each community as he tried to reassure a nation on the verge of Civil War."

"The program will also include National Park Service Park Rangers who will supplement Lincoln's remarks with the story of Lincoln's election, the turbulence that followed, and Lincoln's steadfast commitment to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, despite threats to the nation and himself. The programs will also touch on how events of 150 years ago resonated through later generations up to and including today."

Cities include in the programs are Springfield, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio; Westfield, New York; Buffalo, New York; Albany, New York; Peekskill, New York; New York, New York; Trenton, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland; and, Washington, DC. You'll find links to information about the event in each location here.

The commemoration will involve many local cosponsors in each community, and venues will vary by community. Sites include places where Lincoln actually spoke150 years ago, several NPS sites, two Statehouses, state and local museums and schools.

The events begin at 9:00 a.m. on February 11 at Lincoln Home National Historic Site, 426 S. Seventh Street, in Springfield, Illinois. At 11:00 a.m. that morning, activities move to the Great Western Depot, Tenth and Monroe Streets in Springfield, Illinois.

Organizers invite the public to "Join us at the Great Western Railroad Depot to bid farewell to Lincoln as he gives his famous Farewell Address to the citizens of Springfield and begins his fateful journey to Washington. Lincoln will be joined in his speech by thousands from around the nation in reading the Farewell Address in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people reading aloud from the same document simultaneously. For more information on the simultaneous reading is available here.

Other NPS sites included in the event are Cuyahoga Valley National Park for the February 15 and 16 stop in Cleveland, Ohio; Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site in New York City on February 19; General Grant National Memorial in New York on February 20; and, Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia on February 22.

Some of the events have limited space and require advance reservations, so check the links for specific sites if you'd like to attend.

In addition to the programs along Lincoln's route, the National Park Service is sponsoring an educational initiative related to the Lincoln's Inaugural Journey titled "National Park Service Memory Trail: Civil War to Civil Rights" in which students can research their local community with an eye towards how their community related to the Civil War, the subsequent Civil Rights struggles, and their vision for their community in the next generation.