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  1. #1

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    6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Steve DeGaetano tells the story behind the Disneyland Railroad's Presidential Car, the Lilly Belle; Part One, Discuss it here...

    DIRECT ARTICLE LINK: http://miceage.micechat.com/stevedeg.../sd061908a.htm
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Wow, great article so far. Wonderful Disney history! Can't wait till the next installment.

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Fascinating info, Steve! Another great article.
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    I still can't figure out where that strap goes.

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Yet another great article from Steve! When do we get to read the next installment?

    This series of articles comes at the perfect time, as I'm currently reading his wonderful Welcome Aboard the Disneyland Railroad -- it's great so far!

    Dan

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Thanks, guys! When the next installment comes out is in the hands of the Master--Editor Al.

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Wonderful article Steve. The old pictures are incredible. Thanks for re-posting, I never got a chance to see the first one.

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Thanks, Chad, I appreciate it.

    Part of the reason I wanted to re-run the article here on MiceAge is because of the plethora of misinformation about the car that conductors and tour guides have been telling to guests ever since the car came back to the rails. MiceAge has a huge audience, and the more people that know the truth, the better. One of the most pervasive myths is that the Lilly Belle was Walt Disney's private car. Hopefully, we can shed a little light on these Myths that refuse to die.

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    I'm on pins and needles until the next article. Great job so far!
    Permanecer sentado por favor...

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Luxury railroad travel back then looks infinitely more appealing than the modern-day system of air travel. I'm sure it was only a few dozen bucks back in the 1800's, if only we could go back there somehow. Being witness to an unspoiled and undeveloped United States as it goes by at 50 MPH is WAY better than whizzing over it at 600 MPH while being trapped inside a tin can with hundreds of other people.

    Don't get me wrong, I like flying (at least in the pre-TSA days) but the United States just wasn't made to be flown over for every single trip. People are in such a rush these days that they forget just how absolutely stunning this country's natural beauty is. Trains (especially steam trains) are almost custom-made for the United States and its gorgeous countryside. They force people to slow down and recognize that we are living in a place with 3,000 miles of everything from mountains to deserts to plains to forests.

    And Amtrak is a disgrace to the United States' proud history of the steam train and how it formed this country. I know that trains will never turn a profit again in the transportation industry, but you'd think they could do a little better than 50 stops for even the simplest destination and government-style employees. I want so badly to take a train across the country, but there's just no real method of doing that today.
    Last edited by Athlonacon; 06-20-2008 at 07:03 AM.

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Thanks, Chad, I appreciate it.

    Part of the reason I wanted to re-run the article here on MiceAge is because of the plethora of misinformation about the car that conductors and tour guides have been telling to guests ever since the car came back to the rails. MiceAge has a huge audience, and the more people that know the truth, the better. One of the most pervasive myths is that the Lilly Belle was Walt Disney's private car. Hopefully, we can shed a little light on these Myths that refuse to die.
    This is especially appreciated because I crave knowledge and get a horrible feeling when I give out misinformation. Thanks again for setting the record straight and putting together an entertaining article with great pictures to boot!

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Nice article Steve except for one possible error. I don't think that Lincoln actually owned the railroad car "The Pioneer" that was built by the Pullman Company. I know it was used on the funeral train but everything I have read about that car says that it was supplied by Pullman for use of the Lincoln family while on the funeral train. Lincoln was pro railroad but owning a private car wouldn't have been his style. It is possible that Mary Lincoln purchased the car and never told her husband about it, or their son Robert Lincoln could have purchased it. (He later became president of the Pullman Company) I sent an e-mail to the Pullman web site asking if they know anything about the Lincolns actually purchasing the car. I'll let you know what I discover.

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    test

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Thanks, Wec. Let me know what you hear.

    My source was "Railroads in America," by Oliver Jenson, American Heritage Publishing, 1975.

    A caption under a photo of the private car states, "This private car, with handsome staterooms and extra-length beds, was built for President Lincoln but used by him only in death..." (emphasis added).

    "Rails Across America" edited by current Smithsonian Transportation curator William Withuhn, has a photo of Lincoln's funeral train. A portion of the caption reads, "Lincoln's coffin was carried in his hitherto unused private car." (emphasis added)

    According to this site: http://showcase.netins.net/web/creat...news/train.htm the car was actually called the United States, not Pioneer. And it definitely suggests the car was meant for use by President Lincoln as a private car.

    As for a private car not being Lincoln's style, at least one website suggest the car was built so that Lincoln could travel the country, helping heal the nation after the Civil War.
    Last edited by Steve DeGaetano; 06-21-2008 at 03:54 PM.

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    Hi Steve, Thanks for the information on your sources. I actually forgot that Lincoln was scheduled to check out that car. I had read that somewhere previously. I have heard both names for the car. I have a photo that clearly shows the name "Pioneer" and another that appears to say "United States" but the photo isn't legible. Anyone can assume correctly that the name was changed. When I say that a private car wasn't Lincoln's style maybe I should correct myself by saying it probably wasn't his style. He got angry at Mrs. Lincoln over her purchasing things for the White House when the soldiers didn't have enough blanketts. If there are any railfans here that are interested in the cars disposition, some books say it was scrapped and others that it was destroyed by fire. I did see a book that had a photo of the cars charred remains.

    Steve, I also want to thank you for dispelling the myth about the Lilly Belle being Walts private car. Once people learn the year of it's original conversion verses the year of Walt's death, it's not hard to figure that one out. I just wish the tour guides and conductors would tell the true story.
    Last edited by wec; 06-22-2008 at 08:01 AM. Reason: Mispelling

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    Re: 6/19: Belle of the Ball, Part I

    I suppose, Wec, that the language I used suggesting the car was owned by Lincoln may be deceiving. He may have purchased the car not solely for his use personally, but for himself AND succeeding presidents. Either way, it was one of the first known private cars, even if it was only used for Lincoln's funeral.
    Last edited by Steve DeGaetano; 06-23-2008 at 06:36 AM.

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