President Abraham Lincoln Dined in Erie, PA on his way to Washington to be inaugurated in 1861: Christine’s Chronicles

by Christine Lorraine Morgan ~ July 17, 2021

Did you know that en route to Washington to be inaugurated, President Lincoln stopped and enjoyed a meal at the Erie train depot’s dining room in February 1861?

His train also stopped at the Girard and North East stations.

During Lincoln’s brief visit, there was an unusual commotion which resulted in a potentially dangerous scenario, as posted at

“At Erie quite a scene occurred, by the breaking down of a roof on which a large number of curious republicans had gathered. The sudden appearance of the whole group, and the scramble among the ruins, was most ludicrous. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt. After dinner at Erie Mr. Lincoln addressed the people, excusing himself for not expressing his opinions on the exciting questions of the day,” according to New York Herald, February 17, 1861.

Although there is no clarification on which “roof” broke down in the aforementioned statement by the New York Herald, one might deduce it could have been a train car roof.

Erie’s “new” Union Station train depot opened its doors in December 1927.

This picture shows the railroad track side of Erie’s Union Station depot in the early 20th century. The present Union Station train depot structure in Erie is not the same one at which Lincoln dined, it is likely this is the building in which he enjoyed his meal while in Erie while on his way to Washington to be inaugurated.

This February 2015 photo shows what weather conditions might have resembled while President Lincoln detrained in February at the Erie train station in February 1861.


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