Wednesday, August 3, 2011

HO scale Pocher Lincoln funeral car...


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One of the few truly rare pieces of plastic rolling stock in HO scale, it was offered for a short time back in the late 1960s in two variants, this one with separate castings for the roof vents and another with the vents cast in. Mine has had its smoke stacks replaced and the railings have some damage but it is in pretty fair condition, fulfilling a lifelong desire to own one. There's a definite "man cave" appeal to the idea of articulated trucks on a private car...

It's fascinating to note that the real one, built in 1864 for President Lincoln, was never ridden by him until his death, many at the time believing he thought it too pretentious for someone with his simple beginnings. The car, named the "United States", was built to ride both the Northern 4' 8 1/2" gauge and the Southern 5' gauge. It was fitted more like an office with no kitchen or sleeping area and was not suited for long distance travel.

Shortly after the funeral, it was sold to the Union Pacific RR. for about $8,000. 8 years later it was sold to the Colorado Central for $3,000 and used as a day coach. It slowly was downgraded to a work car until the 1890s, when it changed hands several times, finally ending up in the care of former SOO Line president, Thomas Lowery, who restored it to its former glory. In 1911, a nearby Minnesota grass fire burned it to the ground. I know of no items left from it on display anywhere.

As venerated as he was at the time, you'd of thought better care would have been taken to preserve it.

4 comments:

Cristake said...

Perhaps there was a possibility, after the grass fire, to preserve the basic structure of the coach and then maybe a try of restoration could have succeed... But who knows what were thinking the people involved at that times?!
This kind of rail car would be a king in a rail museum - and there aren't too many with such a glory (perhaps only that coach that hosted the German surrender in WW1, then the French surrender in WW2).
I saw a few oldies restored on some German sites on web - and I may say they look incredible after "rebirth".

Br'er Shaygetz said...

Lincoln had an almost Messianic following in the last months of his life...it simply boggles the mind that such a piece of history passed through our fingers like that.

But then again...that Messianic following may very well be the reason why God, in His Sovereignty, allowed it to be reduced to ashes in a Minnesota grass fire...

Cristake said...

You're right, sir, I didn't think about this "detail".

Br'er Shaygetz said...

...now you know why folks generally steer clear of me when conversation goes from 'light' to 'real'... ;-)

I pray this finds you and yours doing well and that you are well in the Lord.

Blessings, grace and peace...