The Pierce-Arrow Society's 2005 Annual Meet was held July 12 – 17th in Springfield,
Illinois. In addition to enjoying our
Pierce-Arrow automobiles, their driving manners and abilities, there was an
additional focus on Abraham Lincoln’s heritage. Mr. Lincoln spent the
majority of his adult life in Springfield.
On Wednesday July 13, there was an opportunity to shake down the Pierces and
explore country roads including Route 66 traveling to Decatur, Illinois, where we
visited the James Millikin Homestead Museum. After lunch there were
visits to an interesting bookseller and
the Depot Antique Mall. A welcoming gathering occurred during the evening
to refresh friendships and make introductions to those with green ribbons,
identifying them as attending their first PAS Annual Meet.
On Thursday, the Search for Lincoln began with a tour through another
Buffalo (Pierce-Arrows were manufactured in Buffalo, New York) and to the east
to Mount Pulaski. The courthouse located here, built in 1847, is one of
two surviving buildings where Abraham Lincoln practiced law on the 8th
The town rolled out the red carpet for us and reserved special parking for
the Pierce-Arrows around the courthouse square while we were there. Many of the local people personally
thanked us for visiting the town and displaying our Pierce-Arrows.
We stopped for coffee and antiques in Elkhart, Illinois, and many stopped by the
Pig Hip Restaurant Museum which was an original Route 66 restaurant beginning
in the 1930’s. After lunch, we visited New Salem State Park, a reconstruction
of a rural village where Lincoln lived from 1831 to 1837 with buildings
representing those of Mr. Lincoln’s youth and mercantile businesses. The
tour returned to downtown Springfield for a staged drive by shooting
at Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln’s home with the Pierce-Arrows and
our finest photographic equipment. After returning to the hotel,
many ladies participated in a demonstration and discussion on Developing the
Style in clothing appropriate for the vintage auto. Suggestions were made
on transforming clothing and accessories into the clothing styles of years
gone by. Over 60 people were in attendance.
Friday, we visited the many and varied sites in downtown Springfield. The
Old State Capitol served as the Illinois statehouse from 1839 to 1876, with
its Greek Revival architecture with a perfectly balanced design.
All the major executive, legislative, and judicial functions of state government
were housed here. Both houses of the General Assembly met here as did the Illinois
Supreme Court. It also housed one of the state’s finest law libraries.
Our Search for Lincoln included the description of the emergence of the
Republican party and Mr. Lincoln’s senatorial campaign that ultimately
led to a presidential nomination and election. We were told about the
debates with Stephen Douglas and Mr. Lincoln’s speeches delivered with
skill and passion. This building’s final link with Abraham Lincoln was
forged after his assassination. On May 3 and 4, 1865, his body lay in an
open casket within a elaborate velvet-covered catafalque in Representatives
Hall, as a crowd estimated at 75,000 filed past to pay their respects.
We also visited the Lincoln family tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery and the recently
opened Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. Through numerous
visual aids, descriptions, political cartoons and holograms,
we could see images of Mr. Lincoln and the anguish and memories of the
separation of the United States that erupted into the Civil War.
Our driving tour continued to the Rees Memorial Carillon in Washington
Park where we heard the carillon played in the early afternoon. Next we
ventured out into the country to find the Sugar Creek Covered Bridge in
Chatham. Our last stop was at Jim Timberlake’s home on Lake Springfield
to enjoy tea and ice cream and observe his wonderful car collection.
A production Silver Arrow that was brought in just for the occasion.
During the evening, there was an exchange of parts and pieces in a well
attended flea market.
Saturday, we were up early to arrange the display of cars in a shaded
area of Lincoln Park, just west of the Illinois fairgrounds and 15 minutes
from the Crowne Plaza Hotel. This was part of my job as a member of
the organizing meet committee. Bill Morris and I arranged spaces with
room around each of the 58 Pierce-Arrows and 8 bicycles. The
cars ranged from the earliest, a 1911 Model 48-SS touring to several
1936's represented by several body styles: sedan, club sedan,
limousine, town car (Brunn Metropolitan Town Brougham) and phaeton.
We were able to view a 1934 production Silver Arrow and a 1934
Model 836A Henny Arrowline hearse. I had a ride on the articulating
casket platform in back of the hearse to
fulfill a PAS driving commitment for each vehicle judged.
There are only two seats in the hearse. What a ride!
At 10:30am, with all the cars on the show field, Mr. Lincoln arrived
at the show in the rumble seat of a 1929 Model 133 roadster wearing
his period dress with gloves, cane and stovepipe hat.
Mr. Lincoln visited with many meet participants. Acting as an interpreter
in the flesh, Mr. Lincoln acted with the wit, wisdom and some of the
characteristics that are associated with this man.
At the technical
session, Bill Morris demonstrated a method to synchronize a dual
point distributor and Rick Horne explained the terminology related
to engine balancing. At the end of a wonderful celebration of the
Pierce-Arrow Motor Car, we were treated to more of Abe’s humor at
the Awards Banquet.
We enjoyed the company, the pleasant surroundings, the well planned
tours, and our Search for Lincoln during the PAS Annual Meet.
If you enjoyed the 2005 Annual Meet with us, or especially if you missed it, start
making plans to attend next year's 49th Annual PAS Meet in Redmond, Oregon, August 1-6,