EEF Grant Showcase – The Lincoln Funeral Train
Awarded to Pam Evans, Jefferson Elementary School
The Lincoln Funeral Train pulled into Charleston on May 4, 2015. This project was a joint venture with the City of Charleston. Dianne Ratliff was the spearhead for bringing it here. The Excellence in Education grant helped to fund almost half of the cost so that it could be offered free to the public. The train was available for tours on May 5th and 6th.
All of the students from Carl Sandburg, Jefferson Elementary and Charleston Middle School toured the Funeral Car from 8 am to 3 pm. The Funeral Car was also open to the public each evening. Some people actually travelled several hours for this opportunity. There were approximately 3500 visitors that passed through the car during its short visit including 1400 school children from Charleston, Mattoon, and Marshall along with those from private schools and home schools. The students enjoyed seeing what the train would have looked like 150 years ago and thought it was really cool! They also had the chance to visit the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Museum that is onsite as well as listen to the speakers that were on hand to authenticate the experience with their period dress and conversations. On the walk back to school, the students passed through the nearby cemetery to visit the gravesites of several of Lincoln's relatives.