(CBS) — He loves locomotives and he loves learning about Abraham Lincoln.
So, David Kloke put his two passions together to build something special in memory of Lincoln. CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield says he’s someone you should know.
On April 21, 1865 a funeral train prepared to leave Washington, D.C. to carry the body of the nation’s 16th president back home to Springfield. Traveling 1,600 miles, it was an event that lives in history, but the locomotive and the funeral car were never preserved.
Nearly a century and a half later, Kloke, the owner of a construction and locomotive company in Elgin, decided history needed help. So, he began by building a full-scale replica of the engine.
The replica represents the 20 locomotives that were alternately used to transport the funeral car to Springfield. The working steam engine took four years to build.
Yet to be completed is the replica of the funeral car that would carry Lincoln’s casket. Kloke says this was most difficult because of what happened to the original.
“The car ended up in Minnesota in 1911 and burned in a prairie fire,” he says. “They told people they could take anything they wanted and so people did take some of the artifacts.”
A source for authenticating the car came from interviews with people, long gone, who worked on it.
One May 2, the Lincoln funeral train will arrive in Springfield with a replica coffin to participate in a service honoring the 150th anniversary of the president’s funeral.