June 2016

An original play celebrating the nation’s first transcontinental rail line debuted in Galesburg on June 25th and 26th during the community’s annual Railroad Days Festival.  Created to mark the Transcontinental’s upcoming 150th anniversary, the work showcased the impact the line has had on the nation from its completion on May 10, 1869, to the present day.

 

The production, titled An American Dream:  Lincoln, the Railroad, and the Transformation of America, was written and directed by NRHF Executive Assistant Lily Blouin.  Blouin drew her inspiration from the NRHF’s Trunks Through Time educational traveling exhibit.

 

The play builds on themes of challenge and transformation as it explores the ongoing economic, social and political impact of the first rail line to unite the continent from East to West.  

 

The central figure in the play is President Abraham Lincoln who authorized construction of a transcontinental railroad in 1862.  Lincoln was portrayed in the local debut by renowned re-enactor Michael Krebs of With Lincoln Productions. 

 

The remainder of the cast was comprised of local actors who played various railroad travelers from 1860 to the present day, including a Chinese worker on the Transcontinental, a Harvey girl, a Pullman Porter, a boy living in the      Santa Fe boxcar camps, and a present day freight rail classification yard employee.

Performances took place at Prairie Players Civic Theater on South Seminary Street.

ORIGINAL STAGE PLAY EXPLORES IMPACT OF TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD

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(c) National Railroad Hall of Fame 2018. 

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