The Benjamin Harrison Presidential One Dollar Coin remembers when the President and his party left Washington for a transcontinental tour at midnight on April 13, 1891.
From the Railway World magazine of April 18, 1891:
The Presidential Train.
A Smoking Room, Library, Barber Shop and Bath Room, Dining Room, Sleeping Apartments— Electric Lights and Fans Throughout the Train.
A Washington dispatch, dated April 13th, says:
The Presidential special train which will carry the White House party across the continent and return is standing sidetracked in the yard of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and is an object of much admiration.
It represents the highest skill and ingenuity of the best car manufacturers in the world, and in its appearance and appointments combines in the highest degree elegance, good taste, and luxurious comfort.
The train consists of five coaches, besides the engine and tender. The forward coach, the combination baggage and smoking car “Aztlan,” bears on its panels in letters of gold the inscription, “The Presidential Special.”
The smoking compartment of this car is upholstered in olive plush, and the chairs and sofa are of the same color.
Two desks and a library of choice books, from which all political literature has been excluded, complete the equipment of the smoker. The books take up two large book cases, and Andrew Carnegie’s “Around the World” and Lew Wallace’s “Ben Hur” and “The Fair God” are volumes which the President can peruse with an added interest from personal intimacy with the authors.
A barber shop and bath room occupy the rear end of the “Aztlan,” and electric dynamos and the baggage occupy the forward end.
The dining car, the “Coronado,” is a thing of beauty. The curtains are of green plush, the lamps and fittings of a silver shade, and all the appointments as elegant as those of a first-class restaurant.
The President’s car, the “New Zealand,” is next the dining car. The general effect of its decorations is most pleasing. The main part of the car is upholstered in blue plush, with white curtains, but the double drawing room, set aside for the sleeping apartments of the President and Mrs. Harrison, looks as dainty as a bridal chamber, in its white and gold wood work, relieved by plush of a rich terra cotta color.
The other sleeping car, the “Ideal,” is made up of six drawing rooms, all finely furnished, and each drawing room decorated in a distinctive tone from that of the others. One is salmon and white, another saffron, a third green, and the others strawberry and olive and electric blue.
The Vacuna, which is the last coach of the train, combines the double advantages of a library and observation car. It is upholstered in blue, and all the metal is of highly polished brass. The great plate glass windows will be a favorite place for the members of the Presidential party to view the immense stretch of country through which they will travel before reaching Washington again.
The feature of this car, however, is the open air end, especially adapted for public speaking from a train. The platform is seven feet long by nine feet wide, rubber floored, and fenced in with brass and bronze. The roof extends to a point even with the platform, so that when it becomes necessary to address an audience in the rain the President does not necessarily have to expose himself to the elements.
The illumination on the train, even to the exterior lamps, will be electric. In addition to the electric lights, there is an ample supply of oil lamps to be used should the current give out.
Electric fans throughout the train assure the party of relief should the heat be oppressive on the great plains of the south west.
Mr. George W. Boyd, of the Pennsylvania Railroad, will be with the party throughout the trip to insure the perfection of all arrangements for the Presidential visit.
The Richmond and Danville Railroad system has detailed two of its officials. Mr. Taylor, the head of the passenger department, and Mr. Hardwick, of the Georgia Pacific division, may accompany the President from Washington to Birmingham, and they have been instructed to place all the resources of that great system at the President’s disposal to insure the pleasure of his journey through the south.
From Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper of May 30, 1891:
The President’s Tour.
The tour of President Harrison came to an end on the afternoon of May 15th, when reached Washington, having traveled altogether a distance of ten thousand miles without accident or mishap of any kind, and without one minute’s variation from the prearranged schedule.
During his tour the President made one hundred and thirty-nine speeches, the tone and quality of which have elicited almost universal praise.
It is doubtful if there can be found, in the whole record of public utterances an equal number of consecutive speeches so felicitous, so sensible, and so predominantly marked by kindliness and genuine good feeling.
Whether short or long, his addresses in every case appealed to the higher thought and intelligence of his audience.
There was not in a single one the slightest trace of demagogism, and there is no doubt that he impressed himself upon the people at large as honestly desirous of discharging the high functions of his office with sole reference to the public welfare and along the lines of unselfish patriotism.
Among his notable speeches those at Galveston, Tex., Portland, Ore., Springfield, Ill., and Indianapolis, were conspicuous, that delivered at his Indianapolis home being especially tender and appropriate.
Before the separation of the Presidential party General Harrison returned his thanks individually to all the persons connected with the special train, from the conductor to the porters, and in addition to his words of kindly acknowledgment gave to each employee a substantial token of his appreciation.
We give several additional illustrations of incidents of the tour, including one of Mrs. Harrison planting a tree at Menlo Park, the country seat of United States Senator Stanford, where the party spent several hours, and were very handsomely entertained.
The Benjamin Harrison Presidential One Dollar Coin shows with an image of men waiting on a train, circa 1891.