Lincoln funeral re-enactment could be boon for Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Springfield officials say the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral could be a windfall for the city, which is preparing a series of tributes that include a re-enactment of the funeral in May.
An exhibition called “Remembering Lincoln” opens Sunday at the Illinois State Museum, beginning a celebration that leads up to a three-day tribute and re-enactment of Lincoln’s funeral that begins May 1. Lincoln was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield on May 4, 1865.
Hotel rooms are already being booked for that weekend, said Gina Gemberling, acting executive director of the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. But many are still available, she told the State Journal-Register (http://bit.ly/1HsXDhp )
Old Capitol Goods, the official vendor for the Lincoln Funeral Coalition, has memorabilia such as “Honest Abe” posters and T-shirts that read, “Abraham Lincoln Farewell Tour.” There are also commemorative U.S. flags with 36 stars, replicas of the flag that draped Lincoln’s coffin.
“We have people coming from outside the United States and all over the country,” store co-owner Dana Homann said. “There’s going to be a lot going on, and it’s not just the funeral procession.”
Springfield hosted a 200th anniversary celebration for Lincoln’s birthday in 2009, and hotels saw rooms booked weeks in advance. Visitors included President Barack Obama, and shop owners said business boomed.
“We were up about 30 percent that year,” Homann said. “The recession hit in 2008, and we were spared.”
Record store owner Mark Keesler even saw sales of non-Lincoln merchandise jump, tut he said he has some items related to the 16th president.
“This is good for downtown,” Kessler said. “We’d have to be idiots not to.”
Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com