Abraham Lincoln and Central Pennsylvania

(1) Berks County-Before moving moving to Virginia, Kentucky, and Illinois, Lincoln’s Ancestors first settled in Berks County.  The Abraham Lincoln Hotel was a center of  business and tourism in downtown Reading until its closing sometime in the late 80s.  The place had a 40s style look to it and I enjoyed the drinks and dining.  Several pictures of Lincoln were in the lobby and his profile was at multiple  places on the stair well.  Wydham bought the hotel and completely remodeled it.  Whenever a hotel passes from local to national  ownership it loses some charm and uniqueness.  I hope the new Abraham Lincoln Hotel helps the economy  of downtown Reading.

(2) Stop for President Elect Lincoln. The following is taking from Paul Beers book  Profiles from the Susquehanna Valley.  President-Elect Abraham Lincoln left Springfield, Ill for Washington, DC in February 11, 1861, one day before his birthday. The train traveled on an  indirect and overly long route to Washington,DC.   This was of course,  to show his faith in Northern Unity and fearlessness despite rumors of assassination attempts.  No one  knows his state of mind but the trip was basically symbolic.

Lincoln went through Indiana; Ohio; north to Buffalo; east along the Eire Canal to Albany, south to New York City; and then to Philadelphia.  To quote Mr. Beers.

“He came to town on Washington’s Birthday, February 22, 1861, by train from Philadelphia en route to the nation’s capital for his inaugural.  He spoke to the legislature and since he was talking to an uncritical audience he did not exert himself  and his speech was not notable.  Lincoln said ‘I feel, that under God, the strength of the arms and the wisdom heads of these, after all must be my support.  As I have often had  reason to say, I repeat to you-I am I am quite sure I do not deceive myself when I tell you I bring to work an honest heart; I dare not tell you that I bring a sufficient head for it.”

I disagree with Mr. Beers’ statement  Lincoln was merely “…downplaying intellectuality.”   Many people have taken on more responsibility in their personal and professional lives than they could handle. Lincoln spent a few hours at the Jones House on Market Square, where George Washington stayed overnight going west in 1794.  There were rumors of plots to assassinate the President Elect.  The police took Lincoln from the Jones House, moved east about 10 miles, then arrived quietly in Washington.     

(3) Gettysburg Address.  See previous article

(4) April 21, 1865. Lincoln’s Body Brought into the State Capitol 

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