TROY — Miami County residents have been “thinkin’ Lincoln” all summer long with the 30-foot tall Abraham Lincoln and Modern Man sculpture called “Return Visit” at the Miami County Courthouse.
This weekend’s special exhibit of the National Park Service’s Lincoln Funeral Train, which is on display next to the county courthouse on Short Street in downtown Troy, ties into the history and legacy of the 16th president.
The exhibit will be held through Sunday with visiting hours for the general public to run from noon to 8 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The fee to view the inside of the train will be $5 per person, young children and students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade will be admitted free. There will not be a charge to view the exhibit from the outside.
More than 15,000 commemorative tickets will be available to those who board the exhibit this weekend. The tickets were designed by Troy Main Street organization as a keepsake.
The Miami County Visitors Bureau requested and received a $40,000 grant from the Troy Foundation for the special exhibit to stop in Troy for the weekend.
“(Local historian) Scott Trostel and I had a conversation about the Lincoln Funeral Train and that communities had the opportunity to have it visit various towns,” said Miami County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Diana Thompson. “However, he also said it had a fairly high price tag. The Sculptures committee that brought in “Return Visit,” decided that we should give it a try since it would be a great addition to the sculpture.”
I know they felt that this would be an incredible opportunity for residents of Troy, Miami County and the region, especially school groups,” she said. Troy City Schools and other local districts took time out of class to visit the special exhibit during the week.
The funds from the $5 ticket sales to board the train will go to offset expenses not covered by the grant, Thompson said. Any funding left over from those expenses will be donated to the Troy Main Street organization.
On Friday evening, Troy-Hayner Cultural Center will host Gotham City Brass who will be performing on the east side of the Hayner lawn beginning at 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. to add to the festivities.
Historical re-enactors will mill about around the Miami County Courthouse lawn throughout the weekend to add to the ambiance of the Civil War era.
The Funeral Train consists of a full-size reproduction of a 1860s era steam railroad locomotive, Number 63, named Leviathan, and tender. It was built about five years ago from plans provided by the National Park Service. It is a faithful reproduction to locomotives of the Civil War-era as would have been used on the actual funeral train. Over 24 known locomotives pulled the original train.
On April 21, 1865, a train carrying the coffin of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln leaves Washington D.C., on its way to Springfield, Illinois, where he would be buried on May 4. The train carrying Lincoln’s body traveled through 180 cities and seven states on its way to Lincoln’s home state. In 1911, a prairie fire near Minneapolis, Minnesota, destroyed the train car that had so famously carried the 16th Presidents body to its final resting place.
Also, Troy resident Tom Kleptz and his wife Melissa have put their collection of Lincoln memorabilia on display at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center to go along with the funeral train exhibit. Some of the items include a record, Lincoln’s biography that was first written in 1865, Lincoln stamps from 1925 through 1992, and coinage from Lincoln’s campaign, which served as precursors to campaign buttons today.
“Return Visit” sculpture will remain at the Miami County Courthouse until October. The city of Troy was the first place the sculpture has been installed. The sculpture was unveiled for the first time in the spring of 2014 at the J. Seward Johnson Retrospective at the Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey. The artist, J. Seward Johnson also displayed the popular “Sculptures on the Square” exhibit which has been displayed in downtown Troy several times.
For more information, visit www.troymainstreet.org.
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