Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pic of the Day: Abraham Lincoln Addresses Cleveland, February, 1861

Posted By on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM

If you've ever strolled by the corner of W. 6th and Superior, you may have noticed a small plaque on the side of the Rockefeller Building that says something to the effect of, "Abraham Lincoln spent the night here on February 15, 1861." That was 150 years ago today. Back then, the Rockefeller Building was the Weddell House, a posh hotel, and that is where the President-elect stayed during a swing through the Forest City as he traveled from Springfield, IL, to Washington D.C. on an 11-city whistle-stop tour after winning the election.

The plaque remains an interesting little piece of history, especially when you consider that the strip of Superior between W. 6th and W. 9th is now home to a tanning salon, the House of Cues, and other very non-historical operations.

The New York Times not only has an account of Lincoln's travels to Cleveland, but also a rendering done by an artist who was there, capturing the 10,000 people who showed up to receive Lincoln and listen to him speak the next day.

abraham-lincoln-cleveland.jpg

Lincoln delivered a speech in the evening, from the balcony of his hotel, before a crowd estimated at 10,000. It repeated a theme he had been sounding for several days, that the crisis gripping the nation was “artificial,” and would disappear if people relaxed. It was an unrealistic hope, and mollified neither his supporters on the Republican side, looking for iron, nor those on the side of secession, for whom their separation was rapidly becoming a reality (Jefferson Davis was en route to his inaugural, only three days away).

There were levees in Lincoln’s honor, as usual: he met with all of the committees and dignitaries, including a group of veterans of the War of 1812, some of which was fought on Lake Erie. But this evening, for all of its excitement, represented an uptick from the chaos at Pittsburgh. The police kept order, the crowds behaved and Lincoln was able to move from place to place with reasonable safety. As a contented John Nicolay later wrote, “The whole party has very pleasant recollections of Cleveland.”

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar