Abraham Lincoln funeral train on its journey to Springfield, Illinois (Getty Images)

Interesting to look thru the history of Buffalo and find that President Lincoln made two stops in the Queen City.  The first was sort of a victory tour after he was elected in 1860.  He traveled by train from Springfield, Illinois thru Chicago and Cleveland and on to Buffalo.  Along the way the train stopped in Westfield and in Dunkirk where Lincoln made a few remarks to thousands of people who turned out.  Then the train arrived at Buffalo’s Exchange Street station in February, 1861 where it was met by tens of thousands of people.

Buffalo was one of the country’s biggest cities back in the mid 1800’s and it’s where the city rolled out the red carpet for Lincoln with a victory parade down Main Street.  The Presidential carriage rode up Main Street from
about where the HSBC tower is now all the way to what was then the American Hotel on Main Street.  It’s the site of what became the Hengerer’s and later Bon Ton department stores in the same block where the Rand building is. The mayor welcomed the president and Lincoln made a few remarks.

Lincoln then continued his train trip traveling thru Albany, New York City, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Baltimore and then Washington.

It was a completely different mood when Lincoln returned to Buffalo in 1865.  It was less than two weeks
after he was assassinated and a train trip back to Springfield took the same route as the one that took him to Washington four years before.

When Lincoln’s funeral train arrived in Buffalo again it was met by throngs of people.  Lincoln’s body was put on a carriage drawn by six white horses and led on a route up Main, across to Delaware Avenue, down Tupper and south again on Main Street to Main and Eagle where the M & T building now stands.

The coffin was removed from the carriage, carried into St. James Hall, the lid was opened and put on public view for the entire day where an estimated 100-thousand people paid their respects.  36 years later Buffalo would mourn the loss of another president when William McKinley was assassinated at the Pan American


SOURCE: buffalohistoryworks.com