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November 5, 2015 • Headline News
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Replica of Lincoln’s coffin on display

A replica of the coffin in which president Abraham Lincoln is buried will be on display in Versailles at the Stratton-Karsteter Funeral Home Wednesday, Nov. 11.It is one of five replicas made 10 years ago by the Batesville Casket Company. The coffin was built on the only known surviving 1865 photograph of the one in which President Lincoln is shown lying in state.

Batesville Casket has four traveling displays that are loaned to funeral homes across the United States. Mike Stratton and Eric Karsteter, co-owners of the funeral home, believe offering the viewing of the president’s coffin is appropriate on this coming Veterans Day and in the year of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death. “It’s a great opportunity to re-visit history and to consider the man who many say was our greatest president. It’s also interesting to see the detail our own local casket manufacturer did in preserving history,” Stratton said. The funeral directors stated, “We are pleased to be able to bring this living history display to Ripley County.”

Replica of Abraham Lincoln's coffinSUBMITTED PHOTO
This replica of Lincoln’s coffin will be on display Wednesday in Versailles.

Four of the five coffin replicas travel the nation for display at funeral homes and the fifth remains as part of the permanent collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. There is currently a waiting list for the Lincoln replicas through 2016. The public is invited to view the replica coffin from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home located at SR 129 South in Versailles.

A little about the coffin and Lincoln’s funeral…
President Lincoln’s coffin was the most elaborate of that time. His coffin was constructed of solid walnut, lined with lead and completely covered in expensive black cloth. It was 6 feet, 6 inches long (Lincoln was 6’4”) and was decorated with sterling silver handles and sterling silver studs extending the entire length of its sides. Though the coffin appears austere compared to modern caskets, the original was custom made for the president and featured a removable two-part top and a lead lining. The replica does not contain lead. The distinction between a coffin and a casket is that a coffin has six sides (diamond shaped) and a casket has four sides.

The coffin played prominently in a plot by thieves to steal the president’s body. In 1876, when a counterfeiting ring’s top engraver was imprisoned, his gang decided to break into the tomb and steal the body. They planned to hold Lincoln for a ransom of $200,000 in gold and the freedom of the engraver. As the coffin was being removed from the tomb, the plot was foiled when lawmen made their move. In 1900, President Lincoln’s son, Robert, was afraid that more attempts to steal the President’s body would be made. He decided that the new burial chamber was inadequate and plans were made to permanently protect the President from any future attempts to enter the grave. It was during this time of construction that the coffin of President Lincoln was opened. A select few had the opportunity to view the body of President Lincoln one last time. The reasoning for this was to ensure that previous attempts to steal the body of the President were not successful. It was determined that the body in the coffin was indeed that of the President. His appearance had not changed much since that of his original burial in 1865. On September 26, 1901, President Lincoln was then permanently buried. The coffin was placed in a cage 10 feet deep and encased in 4,000 pounds of concrete. At last, President Lincoln was at rest.

It is estimated that one million people viewed President Lincoln’s body from the time of his death on April 14, 1865, until his burial in Springfield, Illinois. His coffin was the most elaborate of that time. President Lincoln also had the distinction of having the largest funeral throughout the world, until President John F. Kennedy’s death in 1963. It could be said that Abraham Lincoln’s death triggered the beginning of modern day funeral service. President Lincoln was the first public figure to be embalmed and put on view for almost three weeks. The embalming technique used on President Lincoln was primarily used on soldiers who died during the Civil War and needed to be transported home for burial. People at that time thought embalming was a barbaric violation of the body, but Lincoln’s funeral had changed that perception. Mourners were able to see the late president for 20 days and embalming made it possible.

Southeastern Career Center: one-of-a-kind technology
Engine testing program, only one offered at high school level

Wanda Burnett

Last week technology was unveiled at the Southeastern Career Center that truly sets them apart above any high school in Indiana. A ribbon cutting ceremony on October 28 revealed a Dynamometer “Test Cell and a Chassis Dynamometer system, giving them one-of-a-kind school status At the ceremony, Brad Street, director of the career center, thanked a myriad of businesses, groups,and people who worked in a collaborative effort to make the system a reality .It is the only one in the entire state offered at the high school level, and the only one in a handful of colleges.

SCC Dyno ribbon cutting ceremony
Pictured left at the SCC Dyno ribbon cutting ceremony were from left, State Rep. Randy Frye; Diesel I Instructor Greg Lamb; SR Supt. Rob Moorhead; Building Trades II Instructor Rob Truesdell; Electrical Trades Instructor Jason Honeycutt; Auto Service I Instructor Luke Badinghaus; Cummins rep. Steve Mackey; Auto Service I Instructor Jerry Pflum; Building Trades I Instructor Todd Ault; Ripley County EOC Cheryll Obendorf; Diesel II Instructor Lloyd Lamb; and SCC Director Brad Street.

These systems allow students to test engine horsepower, torque, durability and efficiency, according to Tricia Johnson, assistant director at the school. The Dynamometer Test Cell tests engines that are placed on a sled and attached to the Dyno for diagnostic testing. The Chassis Dyno has a roller in the floor that allows students in the Automotive Service class to do diagnostic testing while the engine is in the vehicle. Both systems are housed in the new Dynamometer Building behind the SCC school, a building completed by the Building Trades and Electrical Trades students. Now, the new technology will be the finishing touch for students in the diesel program to fire the engines they have previously taken apart and rebuilt as part of the curriculum.

Engines, some provided through Cummins, will all be tested for endurance on the new system, with students being able to test everything from a small engine in a car to a high performance engine, according to Lloyd Lamb, who is the senior instructor in the Diesel class. “It’s a big ordeal,” noted Greg Lamb, also an instructor. “It’s amazing that we have secured this.” Chris Brown, Jac-Cen-Del, and Zack Thompson, South Ripley, both students at SCC, said this new technology will allow them to “see how much horsepower we can build.”

As the Dynamometer was fired up, the sounds and smells from the building, were felt by the crowd that gathered for the event. It was a day of culmination of a project that began in 2012, according to Steven Mackey, who sat down with Street to brainstorm on how to better prepare the students. Mackey, a representative of EOC, along with Cheryll Obendorf, were in attendance to see the system in action, knowing it will provide students with better opportunities. State Representative Randy Frye spoke, saying, “Brad Street understands the importance of leading technology and is seen at the Statehouse during legislation on a regular basis making sure his students have the best. This is exactly what the State of Indiana needs, making the education experience second to none in the State.” South Ripley School Superintendent Rob Moorhead, also vice-president of the Board of Managers for SCC, spoke at the event, saying great things can be accomplished when people put aside differences and work together. “It creates opportunities for our students,” he noted.

The collaborative effort on the part of school, industry, business, community foundations, politicians, instructors, students and more, has brought about the best technology possible for those attending the career center in these classes. It was said that Cummins has announced more than 700 diesel mechanics are needed right now. Johnson noted that students have gone directly from graduating SCC to Cummins to work, where they make a good wage, and are also paid for taking continuing education classes.

The new technology will be used by approximately 150 students per year. A number of people pulled together to secure funding of around $210,000, for the project, with students helping by doing the labor on the inside of the building. The school has a yearly enrollment of 880 students and “strives to provide quality instructional opportunities,” according to Johnson. She also talked about the opportunity for the students to continue their education and enter the workforce to become successful adults. Frye told the Osgood Journal that the school at Versailles is paving the way for hundreds of students to be successful Hoosiers and he is thankful for the leadership at SCC, along with the hard work of instructors and students to learn.

The Southeastern Career Center (SCC) has a large variety of opportunities for students. For a list of what is available or to speak with a representative, call 812-689-5253 or go online at where you will find what Indiana’s first area vocational school has to offer. The school is located at 901 W US 50, Versailles.

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