Lincoln Catafalque Talk

For some reason, I always thought that after Lincoln was laid to rest, the catafalque used to hold his coffin wasn’t used again until Kennedy died – but I was wrong!

As a matter of fact, President Ford will be the 12th president and 28th person overall to have laid in state on the catafalque.

Here’s a list of everyone that has been on the catafalque, and here’s a little more info on the Lincoln catafalque, a little dated from the Reagan funeral, but still valid.

Also, here’s two bits of information I found interesting about the Lincoln catafalque:

  • Abraham Lincoln’s catafalque, hastily designed and built in 1865 by Commissioner of Public Buildings Benjamin Baker French, is a nailed-together platform of rough pine boards about 7 feet long, raised about 3 feet off the ground and covered with a black cloth drapery. After Lincoln’s funeral, the catafalque was permanently stored in Washington’s Tomb. This space, a tiny cell two floors below the Rotunda, had lain vacant since 1832, when plans to disinter the first president from his resting place in Mount Vernon fell through.
  • It was used in the Supreme Court building to support the casket of former Justice Harry Blackmun—just before his ashes were driven to Arlington Cemetery in a Volkswagen Beetle.
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