Abraham Lincoln’s presidency was bookended by a pair of dramatic railroad trips through the State of New York. His first term began with a pre-inaugural railway tour — his second ended with a funeral train.
Each was a five-day crossing of the Empire State and these two journeys allowed thousands of ordinary Americans first to celebrate, and later to mourn, the great president, and became indelibly etched in the memories of those who had the opportunity to stand along parade route.
The Lincoln Depot Museum is set to host “New York and the Lincoln Specials: The President’s Pre-Inaugural and Funeral Trains Cross the Empire State,” a presentation by Joseph D. Collea Jr., on Saturday, November 2, at 2 pm. Drawing on newspaper accounts, memoirs and diaries, Joe Collea’s Program (and book) brings to life the two epic and unique moments in both New York’s and the nation’s history. Admission is $10, free for museum members.
After 47 years in public education as a teacher and administrator, Joe Collea recently retired. He now devotes his time to research, related-travel, and writing. His first two books — The First Vermont Cavalry in the Civil War, A History and New York and the Lincoln Specials: The President’s Pre-Inaugural and Funeral Trains Cross the Empire State — were published by McFarland. He is currently finishing two other manuscripts: one is about George Custer and the 1st Vermont Cavalry in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864-1865; and the other is a history of his hometown of Ilion, New York, where he served as a Village Trustee and then Mayor. He also has several magazine articles to his credit, two of which have appeared in New York Archives magazine. Collea was a graduate of Ilion Junior-Senior High School – where he eventually became the principal – has three degrees from SUNY Albany, and did post-graduate work under a Fulbright Scholarship at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and through a graduate scholarship at Syracuse University.
Collea will have his books for sale and be available to sign after the presentation.
The Lincoln Depot Museum is located at 10 South Water Street, Peekskill. More information is available on their website.