Major Abraham Lincoln Event, February 11th


The City of Lockport and The Gaylord Building, a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will take part in a world record attempt on Friday, February 11, 2011 to help kick off nation’s Civil War Sesquicentennial.

People of all ages are invited to help The Gaylord Building and the City of Lockport take part in a Guinness World Record™ attempt as part of the national commencement of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.

The 150th anniversary observance of the Civil War will begin on February 11, 2011, exactly 150 years after Abraham Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois on his Inaugural journey as President-elect to Washington, D.C. Lincoln made an impromptu speech that day from the Great Western Depot before departing Springfield for the last time. The speech will be re-enacted at that same depot at 11:00 a.m. Central Standard Time on February 11, 2011, and organizers are inviting people from around the world to join in and simultaneously read Lincoln’s Farewell Address through live media links that will be set up for that purpose.

Citizens from the Lockport and throughout the Chicago metropolitan area may take part in this world record attempt at Lockport’s Lincoln Landing, which is adjacent to The Gaylord Building (200 W. Eighth Street, Lockport, IL), at 10:45a.m. Central Standard Time. Since Guinness World Records™ requires the record-breaking reading to last at least five minutes, participants will read the Farewell Address multiple times until the five-minute threshold is met, beginning precisely at 11:00am.

Guinness World Records™ requires specific documentation for this attempt. Those documents and world record attempt instructions may be downloaded at:

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, GateHouse Media, the National Park Service, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, and the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition are sponsoring the national Guinness World Record™ attempt. The Lockport event is co-sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the City of Lockport.

According to Guinness World Records™, the record for the most people reading aloud from the same document simultaneously is 223,363 participants at 909 venues across the United States for an event organized by Walden Media on December 13, 2006. Organizers of the February 11 event are confident they can break the existing world record while officially opening the nation’s Civil War Sesquicentennial observance.

A similar world record attempt by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to simultaneously read the Gettysburg Address on Lincoln’s 200th birthday, February 12, 2009, garnered 180,000 documented participants. Although short of the world record, the lessons learned from that attempt have been put to use in planning the February 11, 2011 reading. The text of the speech to be used by readers on February 11 follows:

Abraham Lincoln’s February 11, 1861 Farewell Address
Great Western Depot, Springfield, Illinois

“My friends – No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe every thing. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being, who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him, who can go with me, and remain with you and be every where for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

The Inaugural train trip that began February 11, 1861 in Springfield arrived in Washington on February 23. It made stops in the Illinois communities of Decatur, Tolono, and Danville; the Indiana communities of Lafayette, Thornton, Lebanon, Indianapolis, Morris, Shelbyville, Greensburg, and Lawrenceburg; the Ohio communities of Cincinnati, Milford, Loveland, Miamiville, Morrow, Corwin, Xenia, London, Columbus, Newark, Frazeysburg, Dresden, Coshocton, Newcomerstown, Uhrichsville, Cadiz, Junction, Steubenville, Wellsville, Salineville, Bayard, Alliance, Hudson, Ravenna, Cleveland, Willoughby, Painesville, Geneva, Madison, Ashtabula, and Conneaut; Pennsylvania communities Rochester, Allegheny City, Pittsburgh, Girard, Erie, Northeast, Philadelphia, Leaman Place, Lancaster, and Harrisburg; New York communities Westfield, Dunkirk, Silver Creek, Buffalo, Batavia, Rochester, Clyde, Syracuse, Utica, Little Falls, Fonda, Amsterdam, Schenectady, Albany, Troy, Rhinebeck, Hudson, Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, Peekskill, and New York City; New Jersey communities Jersey City, Newark, Elizabeth, Rahway, and Trenton; Baltimore, Maryland; and Washington, D.C.

Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States on March 4, 1861. He had been President for just over a month when the April 12, 1861 bombardment of Fort Sumter heralded the beginning of the worst crisis to ever face the nation or its chief executive.

For more information about the event in Lockport, Illinois, or to confirm your participation, please call The Gaylord Building at 1.815.838.9400 or send an email to

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