Looking Backward: Abraham Lincoln, April 27, 1865
“To day is one that will be marked to the end of life in the memory of every man and woman and child who witnesses its event in Buffalo. Half a century from now, the patriarchs of that time—the children of this—will be telling the little ones at their knees, with a never forgotten sadness, how they looked upon the dead face of Abraham Lincoln.” — Buffalo Morning Express, April 27, 1865
Reproduction by permission of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo, New York.
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 150 years ago this year. The funeral train from Washington, DC, to Springfield, Illinois, departed on April 21, retracing the 1,654-mile route that Lincoln took in the opposite direction to be sworn in as president in 1861. After stops in Baltimore, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York, and Albany, the train arrived in Buffalo on April 27, 7am, pulling in at the Exchange Street depot “so slowly and silently that it announced in its very manner the solemnity of its nature.”
This view of Main Street, looking south from Eagle Street toward Shelton Square, shows the crowds gathered around the funeral procession. Visible on the left, the president’s coffin is being transported from the hearse to St. James Hall, Washington and Eagle streets. Nearly 100,000 mourners filed past the coffin at St. James Hall until the doors were closed at 8pm, among them a 28-year-old named Grover Cleveland. The funeral train departed Buffalo at 10pm. Today, the site of St. James Hall is One M&T Plaza. The Main Place Tower occupies the site of Shelton Square.