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  • Writer's pictureChris Allen

The Lincoln Special stops in Zionsville for statewide tour

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

different form.”

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

Michigan City.

“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

Zionsville Town Hall is at 1100 W. Oak St. and all are welcome to attend.

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