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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum unveils temporary exhibit       Send a link to a friend

'Tales from the Crypt: A History of the Lincoln Tomb'

[FEB. 7, 2007]  SPRINGFIELD -- On Saturday, the Illinois Gallery of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum unveiled the temporary exhibit "Tales from the Crypt: A History of the Lincoln Tomb." This exhibit showcases the rich history of the Lincoln Tomb. Visitors are invited to step back into time and relive the events and decisions surrounding the creation of the Lincoln Tomb. The exhibit details the stories, controversies and sometimes downright battles over the martyred remains of the 16th president, including the tomb raiders, the plots to steal Lincoln's body, the restoration of the site and the reburying of Lincoln in 1901. In addition, the exhibit looks at the caretakers who have protected this historic site through the years.

"The history of the Lincoln Tomb is in a way as complex as the life of Mr. Lincoln himself," said ALPLM Executive Director Rick Beard. "Through historic photos and artifacts, this exhibit will show in great detail how this historic site has changed over the years."

Among the artifacts on display:

  • Funeral items, including the mourning sash worn by Gen. Grant

  • Burglary tools used during the 1876 attempt to steal Lincoln's body

  • Historic photographs from all stages of the tomb's history, including the original building, 1900 remodeling, 1930 remodeling, and vandalism in the 1980s and '90s

  • Photos of famous visitors over the years

The exhibit runs through March 25.

Timeline for Lincoln Tomb

April 14, 1865 -- Abraham and Mary Lincoln attend Ford's Theatre for a performance of "Our American Cousin." John Wilkes Booth shoots Lincoln.

April 15, 1865 -- Abraham Lincoln dies at 7:22 a.m. in Washington, D.C. City of Springfield, Ill., issues resolution requesting Lincoln's remains to be buried in his hometown.

April 17, 1865 -- Mary Lincoln consents to have her husband be buried in Springfield.

April 24, 1865 -- Committee of nine members selected to supervise the funeral arrangements in Springfield appoints a group of 13 to constitute the Lincoln Monument Association. Work begun on temporary vault on the Mather property.

May 11, 1865 -- The group of 13 formally incorporates as the National Lincoln Monument Association.

May 3, 1865 -- Abraham and Willie Lincoln's remains arrive in Springfield. The president's remains are placed on public viewing in the State House.

May 4, 1865 -- At noon, the casket is closed and placed in a hearse for transport to Oak Ridge Cemetery. The remains of Abraham Lincoln and William Wallace Lincoln are placed in the temporary vault at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

June 1865 -- First formal solicitation for the National Lincoln Monument Association made by sending out form letters. All Sabbath schools across the United States are asked to take up a collection for the Lincoln Tomb on the second Sunday of June.

June 5, 1865 -- Mary Lincoln sends letter to the National Lincoln Monument Association insisting on building the tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery and not the Mather property.

June 14, 1865 -- By a vote of 8-7, the association agrees to Mrs. Lincoln's wishes. The city of Springfield donates 6 acres of land, and work begins on a temporary vault.

Dec. 19-21, 1865 -- Mary Lincoln and Robert Todd Lincoln are in Springfield to inspect the temporary vault. Abraham and Willie's remains are relocated into the new vault. Lincoln's casket is opened and six of his personal acquaintances attest to the corpse being that of Abraham Lincoln. This begins the policy of maintaining an unbroken chain of identity until the final burial of Lincoln.

December 1866 -- The National Lincoln Monument Association raised $75,000 of the $250,000 needed for construction of the monument.

May 1867 -- The General Assembly of the state of Illinois passes bill providing $50,000 toward the construction of the Lincoln Tomb.

Jan. 2, 1868 -- The National Lincoln Monument Association, having raised $134,000, initiates a national design contest. The winning designer will receive $1,000, and the total cost of construction may not exceed $200,000.

Jan. 24, 1868 -- The National Lincoln Monument Association issues final national solicitation for construction funds.

Sept. 1-10, 1868 -- The 37 designs submitted for consideration are on public display in the State House (now the Old State Capitol).

Sept. 11, 1868 -- Larkin Mead is selected as the winner of the design competition. His design consisted of a granite obelisk with a bronze figure of Lincoln and four bronze groupings of the various branches of service.

Sept. 9, 1869 -- Ground broken for the construction of the Lincoln monument.

March 7, 1871 -- Richard Oglesby visits William H. Seward in Auburn, N.Y., to extend invitation to speak at the dedication of the Lincoln monument. Seward, in poor health, declines.

May 11, 1871 -- Sharon Tyndale, one of the board members on the National Lincoln Monument Association, is shot outside his Springfield house. The crime is never solved.

May 22, 1871 -- Capstone placed on top of shaft.

July 15, 1871 -- Thomas "Tad" Lincoln dies in Chicago.

July 17, 1871 -- Tad Lincoln's remains returned to Springfield and placed in one of the crypts in the new tomb.

Sept. 19, 1871 -- Five members of the National Lincoln Monument Association view Lincoln's remains as they are moved from the temporary vault to the monument vault. Lincoln's body is removed from the wooden casket and placed in a metallic casket.

Oct. 1, 1871 -- Construction of the Lincoln monument complete except for the placement of the bronze statues.

Dec. 8, 1871 -- J. Young Scammon of Chicago pledges to raise the $13,700 to cast the bronze infantry group.

March 13, 1872 -- Former New York Gov. E.D. Morgan pledges to raise the $13,700 for the bronze naval group.

July 24, 1874 -- The National Lincoln Monument Association announces that the dedication of the monument will occur on Oct. 15, 1874.

Aug. 18, 1874 -- Springfield citizens raise $3,000 to cover costs for dedication events.

Oct. 9, 1874 -- Lincoln's body is viewed again, removed from the metal casket and placed in a red cedar coffin with a lead lining. The casket is placed in a white marble sarcophagus.

Oct. 10, 1874 -- Ames Foundry in Chicopee, Mass., completes naval group using bronze from 65 Civil War-era cannons donated by the United States government. They are ready to begin on infantry grouping.

Oct. 15, 1874 -- Formal dedication of the Lincoln Tomb occurs, with President Grant in attendance. Larkin Mead's bronze statue of Lincoln the Emancipator is unveiled.

[to top of second column]

Oct. 28, 1874 -- The National Lincoln Monument Association hires John Carroll Power as first custodian of the monument.

Oct. 29, 1874 -- The Lincoln Tomb is opened to the public.

Fall 1875 -- Naval grouping completed and exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. This bronze does not reach Springfield until March 1877.

July 3, 1876 -- Date set for first attempt to steal Lincoln's body. News of plot leaks out and it is never carried out.

Nov. 7, 1876 -- Second plot to steal Lincoln's body occurs. Robbers break into the vault before being scared away by authorities.

Nov. 15, 1876 -- Lincoln's casket removed from white marble sarcophagus and moved about in the interior spaces of the monument for safekeeping.

Nov. 20, 1876 -- A special grand jury in Springfield charges Terrence Mullins and Jack Hughes with attempted larceny and conspiracy. Grave robbing was not a felony offense in Illinois at the time, making it necessary to file charges that would place Mullins and Hughes in the state penitentiary.

May 17, 1877 -- The board approves money to begin work on the bronze artillery group.

May 21, 1877 -- Illinois General Assembly approves $27,000 for completion of bronze statues at the Lincoln monument.

May 30, 1877 -- Trial against Terrence Mullins and Jack Hughes begins in Sangamon County Court in Springfield. Robert Todd Lincoln agrees to pay to keep witnesses in Springfield to testify against Mullins and Hughes at the request of the United State Secret Service.

June 2, 1877 -- Mullins and Hughes are found guilty and sentenced to serve a one-year term at Joliet State Penitentiary.

June 26, 1877 -- Robert Todd Lincoln sends request to James J. Brooks, chief of the Secret Service, asking for reimbursement of $643 for covering witness expenses for room and board during the trial. He is never paid.

September 1877 -- Both infantry and naval bronzes placed on Lincoln monument.

Nov. 18, 1878 -- Lincoln coffin moved to secret location near base of the obelisk.

Sept. 12, 1879 -- The board approves money to begin work on the final bronze cavalry grouping.

Feb. 12, 1880 -- The Lincoln Guard of Honor established to protect Lincoln's remains and provide commemorative programs.

April 13, 1882 -- The artillery group placed at the Lincoln Tomb.

July 16, 1882 -- Mary Todd Lincoln dies in Springfield.

July 19, 1882 -- Mary Todd Lincoln is placed in a vault of the Lincoln Tomb along with three of her sons and her husband.

May 16, 1885 -- The National Lincoln Monument Association reconstitutes itself as the Lincoln Monument Association and shifts focus from the fundraising to build the monument to providing annual maintenance and daily public operation of the facility.

April 14, 1887 -- Lincoln's coffin is placed in burial chamber beneath the sarcophagus. Members of the Lincoln Guard of Honor view Lincoln's remains.

March 5, 1890 -- Abraham Lincoln II, nicknamed "Jack," dies in London. He is the only son of Robert Todd and Mary Harlan Lincoln and the grandson of President Lincoln. Robert held the appointment as minister to Great Britain at the time.

Nov. 8, 1890 -- Remains of Abraham Lincoln II are placed in a vault at the Lincoln monument.

Feb. 17, 1893 -- First attempt to transfer ownership of the tomb from the Lincoln Monument Association to the state of Illinois fails.

Jan. 11, 1894 -- John Carroll Power, custodian of the Lincoln monument, dies at the age of 74.

July 9, 1895 -- Ownership of the Lincoln monument is transferred to the state of Illinois. The Lincoln Monument Association ceases to exist.

March 9, 1899 -- Gov. John Tanner asks the Illinois legislature for $100,000 to rebuild the Lincoln Tomb.

March 10, 1900 -- Lincoln's coffin is moved from burial chamber to underground vault northeast of the tomb.

April 24, 1901 -- Lincoln's coffin is moved from underground vault to sarcophagus in tomb.

July 1901 -- Lincoln's remains are moved from sarcophagus to crypt in the tomb.

Sept. 26, 1901 -- Lincoln's remains viewed for one last time before being placed in steel and concrete vault.

June 4, 1903 -- President Theodore Roosevelt spoke briefly at the tomb while in Springfield to dedicate the state arsenal.

Feb. 12, 1922 -- Gen. John J. Pershing and Vice President Calvin Coolidge visit the tomb.

July 26, 1926 -- Robert Todd Lincoln dies at Hildene in Manchester, Vt. Against his wish to be buried with his father, Mary Harlan Lincoln buries Robert in Arlington National Cemetery.

May 12, 1930 -- At the request of Gov. Louis L. Emmerson, $175,000 appropriated to fix structural problems with the Lincoln Tomb.

May 27, 1930 -- Abraham Lincoln II reburied in Arlington National Cemetery.

June 17, 1931 -- President Herbert Hoover is the featured speaker at the rededication of the Lincoln Tomb.

Oct. 11, 1936 -- Stone from an ancient wall built by the Roman Emperor Servius Tullius placed at the tomb and dedicated by Gov. Henry Horner. According to legend, Tullius -- like Lincoln -- was a great leader who was assassinated.

1946 -- First Lincoln Pilgrimage to the Lincoln Tomb by the Abraham Lincoln Council, Boy Scouts of America. This is considered the largest one-day gathering of Scouts in the United States. It now comprises an entire weekend of events.

Feb. 10, 2007 -- 60th annual Pilgrimage of the Veterans of Foreign Wars takes place at the Lincoln Tomb.

Feb. 12, 2007 -- 73rd annual Pilgrimage to the Lincoln Tomb by the Springfield American Legion Post 32 takes place.

(Text from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum news release received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information)

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