Zionsville will welcome an educational and entertaining program over the weekend
that focuses on President Abraham Lincoln.
The Lincoln Special is a nonprofit, celebrating the legacy of Lincoln with the mission
to share his words with underserved regions across the country.
Cambridge City is home to another stop on the Lincoln Funeral train and will likely be the location of Allen’s upcoming film.
Two weeks ago, the organization kicked off a 13-city roadshow that highlights
Lincoln’s life and legacy after his assassination, in recognition of the 160th
anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.
One of the stops will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Zionsville Town Hall.
“I want to save democracy by telling the final story,” Executive Director Chris Allen
said. “The story of Lincoln often ends at the Peterson’s house, the home in which he
died across the street from Ford’s Theater, but his story continues on, just in a
Allen, 52, of Westfield, said his admiration for Lincoln began in elementary school.
Growing up in Madison, he said didn’t have many opportunities to visit the popular
museums and monuments that students elsewhere may have experienced. In fifth
grade, however, he did go on a school field trip to the Lincoln Boyhood National
Memorial near Evansville.
His goal is to “take Lincoln’s words and wisdom out of the museums and into the
hearts of the underserved.”
The free hour-long presentation will feature a short PowerPoint, items from the
Lincoln Library and a round table discussion, with the purpose of raising awareness
about what The Lincoln Special is doing within local communities.
In addition, information about an upcoming motion picture will be available.
“We are raising $6.5 million to professionally shoot a film in Indiana about Lincoln’s
Funeral Train and a fictional account of one former slave who travels to Indianapolis
to pay his respects,” Allen said. “Along the way, his two best friends help him and its
sort of a depiction of the stories we’ll never know. More than 120,000 people stood in
line to pay their respects when the train stopped in Indianapolis.”
His goal is to begin filming “Of Tears and Iron” in the spring of 2025.
Lincoln came from humble beginnings. He lost his mother to consumption when he
was only 9, and then lost his sister. But went on to become the nation’s 16th
Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while watching a play at Ford’s
Theatre on April 15, 1865. Several events were held to allow the nation to mourn,
including The Lincoln Special, a funeral train that traveled 1,654 miles through seven
states on its way to a burial site in Springfeld, Illinois. Millions came out to watch the
train and pay their respects. The route was designed to retrace Lincoln’s journey to
Washington when he was rst inaugurated four years prior.
Lincoln’s funeral train passed through several cities along the route including
Zionsville, Whitestown, Zionsville, Hazelrigg, Thorntown and Colfax.
The train stopped in Zionsville – both during Lincoln’s inaugural trip to Washington,
D.C., and for his funeral procession.
Allen said the program is just what the country needs right now.
“I think in this day and age of toxicity in our world, the moms and dads of the world
have to do something,” Allen said. “In every road show, I’m asking, ‘What is saving
our democracy worth to you?’”
“Of Tears and Iron,” he said, can revisit America’s troubled past, but also lead to
After stopping in Zionsville, additional stops will include Lafayette, Monon and
“Lincoln’s Funeral Train acted as a zipper that brought hundreds of thousands of
people together at this nation’s most fractured point,” Allen said. “His funeral train
proved that even in death, Lincoln could unite people like nothing before or since.”
For more information on The Lincoln Special, visit the website at www.tearsandiron.com.
Zionsville Town Hall is at 1100 W. Oak St. and all are welcome to attend.