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TIMELINE for the
1947 - 1949
FREEDOM TRAIN
 
 
Date
Place
Display
Site #
Notes
*
*
*
1946
April, 1946
*
*

William Coblenz, an assistant director with the Public Information division of the Department of Justice, spends his lunch hour at the National Archives. There he views an exhibit containing the German surrender documents and Hitler's last will and testament. Lamenting that so many Americans will never get to the National Archives to see such documents (and contrasting documents of our heritage of freedom) he decides to take his idea of a traveling exhibit of such documents to the Archivist of the United States, Solon Buck.

Buck likes the idea and passes it along to his boss, who in turn passes it on to Attorney General Tom Clark. With President Truman's "strongest endorsement", the idea takes shape as a seven-car rolling exhibit that will place dozens of documents of American liberty next to dozens of documents illustrating tyranny and despotism. The hope is that this exhibit will cause a reawakening in the hearts of Americans and serve as a reminder that freedom cannot be taken for granted.

Fall 1946
*
*
Coblenz and the staff of the National Archives flesh out the exhibit, complete with proposed documents and a plan for the layout of the train itself. Funding is conspicuously absent, and Attorney General Clark turns to his friends in corporate America. One friend, Barney Balaban, president of Paramount Pictures, took the lead, helping to bend the ears of media luminaries such as Spyros Skouras, president of 20th Century-Fox, composer Irving Berlin, and Frank Stanton, president of CBS. Thomas Brophy, who had been working on a similar project for the Advertising Council, was asked by Clark to join forces. With the combined support of these men and their respective organizations, the financing fell in place.
*
*
*
1947
February 1947
*
*
The American Heritage Foundation is formed to oversee the financial and operational affairs of the exhibit. The president of the foundation is Thomas Brophy. It is decided the train will be called The Liberty Train and it is decided it will only carry documents related to our American liberties. The concept survives, but the name doesn't.
May 1947
*
*
The plan for the exhibit now calls for the train to be the focal point of a "Rededication Week" wherever it goes. During the week before the train's arrival, programs and community events will provide dramatic reminders to the people of the liberties they each enjoy as American citizens. Also, by now, the name of the train has evolved to its final form: The Freedom Train.
August 1947
*
*
The train takes shape. The engine will be a brand new 2000 horsepower PA-1 manufactured and loaned by the American Locomotive Corporation (ALCO). The loaned cars consist of a baggage car form the Santa Fe Railway, three exhibit cars on loan form the Pennsylvania Railroad, and three Pullman cars from the Pullman Company to provide accommodations for the staff of the train. The train is painted red, white and blue in a paint scheme designed by noted designer Chester Mack.
September 1947
Cameron, VA
*

In the first weeks of September, the exhibits are placed in the cars by members of the National Archive staff under heavy guard at Cameron, VA.

Full-time security for the train will be provided by 27 United States Marines under the command of Lt. Col. Robert F. Scott.

September
17-19
Philadelphia, PA
1
Constitution Day -- September 17: Opening Day! The Freedom Train opens to the public in Philadelphia on the 160th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. Thousands sign "The Freedom Scroll", a pledge of rededication to the principles of liberty. Thousands more will sign it as the train travels across the land.
September 20
Atlantic City, NJ
2
*
September 21
Trenton, NJ
3
*
September 22
Elizabeth, NJ
4
*
September 23
Patterson, NJ
5
*
September
24-26
6
*
September 27
Brooklyn, NY
7
*
September 28
Jamaica (Long Island), NY
8
*
September 30
Van Nest (Bronx), NY
9
*
October 1
Stamford, CT
10
*
October 2
Bridgeport, CT
11
*
October 3
Waterbury, CT
12
*
October 4
Hartford, CT
13
*
October 5
New Haven, CT
14
*
October 7
New London, CT
15
*
October 8
Providence, RI
16
*
October 9
Worcester, MA
17
*
October 10
Lynn, MA
18
*
October 11
Boston, MA
(North Station)
19
*
October 12
Boston, MA
(South Station)
20
*
October 13
Rutland, VT
21
*
October 15
Burlington, VT
22
*
October 16
Montpelier, VT
23
*
October 17
Concord, NH
24
*
October 18
Nashau, NH
25
*
October 19
Lowell, MA
26
*
October 20
Lawrence, MA
27
*
October 22
Haverill, MA
28
*
October 23
Dover, NH
29
*
October 24
Augusta, ME
30
*
October 25
Bangor, ME
31
*
October 26
Lewiston, ME
32
*
October 27
Manchester, NH
33
*
October 28
Fitchburg, MA
34
*
October 30
Springfield, MA
35
*
October 31
Pittsfield, MA
36
*
November 1
Schenectady, NY
37
*
November 2
Utica, NY
38
*
November 4
Rome, NY
39
*
November 5
Syracuse, NY
40
*
November 6
Rochester, NY
41
*
November 7
Buffalo, NY
42
*
November 8
Elmira, NY
43
*
November 9
Binghamton, NY
44
*
November 11
45
*
November 12
Scranton, PA
46
*
November 13
Wilks Barre, PA
47
*
November 14
Williamsport, PA
48
*
November 15
Altoona, PA
49
*
November 16
Harrisburg, PA
50
*
November 18
Reading, PA
51
*
November 19
Allentown, PA
52
*
November 20
Chester, PA
53
*
November 21
Wilmington, DE
54
*
November 22
Sallsbury, MD
55
*
November 23
Dover, DE
56
*
November
25-26
Baltimore, MD
57
*
November
27-28
Washington, DC
58
*
November 29
Charlottesville, VA
59
*
November 30
60
*
December 2
Roanoke, VA
61
*
December 3
Winston Salem, NC
62
*
December 4
Charlotte, NC
63
*
December 5
Greeneboro, NC
64
*
December 6
Raleigh, NC
65
*
December 7
Norfolk, VA
66
*
December 9
Richmond, VA
67
*
December 10
Wilmington, NC
68
*
December 11
Columbia, SC
69
*
December 12
Spartanburg, SC
70
*
December 13
Greenville, SC
71
*
December 14
Augusta, GA
72
*
December 16
Charlston, SC
73
*
December 17
Savannah, GA
74
*
December 18
Brunswick, GA
75
*
December 19
Jacksonville, FL
76
*
December 20
Miami, FL
77
*
December 21
Tampa, FL
78
*
December 22
Tallahassee, FL
79
*
December 23
Pensacola, FL
80
*
December 26
81
*
*
*
*
It was originally planned the train would go from Mobile to display in Selma, AL, but Selma withdrew its request for the Freedom Train to visit when it became apparent the American Heritage Foundation was serious about their stand against racial segregation aboard the Freedom Train.
December 27
Montgomery, AL
82
*
December 28
Tuscaloosa, AL
83
*
*
*
*
It was originally planned the train would go from Tuscaloosa to display in Birmingham, AL, but the city's fathers stood their ground on segregation and the American Heritage Foundation did not waver on their policy that admission to the Freedom Train would not have any component of segregation, either aboard the train or in line. Birmingham was stricken from the schedule.
December 29
Columbus, GA
84
*
December 31
Macon, GA
85
*
*
*
*
1948
January
1-2, 1948
Atlanta, GA
86
*
January 3
Chattanooga, TN
87
*
January 4
Nashville, TN
88
*
January 6
Jackson, TN
89
*
*
*
*

It was originally planned the train would go from Jackson to display in Memphis, TN, but -- as with Birmingham -- the city's demand for segregation aboard the train got it eliminated from the itinerary.

January 7-8
New Orleans, LA
90
*
January 9
Hattisburg, MS
91
*
January 10
Meridian, MS
92
*
January 11
Jackson, MS
93
*
January 13
Vicksburg, MS
94
*
January 14
Monroe, LA
95
*
January 15
Alexandria, LA
96
*
January 16
Baton Rouge, LA
97
*
January 17
Shreveport, LA
98
*
January 18
Texarkana, AR/TX
99
*
January 19
Little Rock, AR
100
*
January 21
Pine Bluff, AR
101
*
January 22
Fort Smith, AR
102
*
January 23
Muskogee, OK
103
*
January 24
Tulsa, OK
104
*
January 25
Oklahoma City, OK
105
*
January 27
Enid, OK
106
*
January 28
Ada, OK
107
*
January 29
Denison, TX
108
*
January
30-31
Dallas, TX
109
*
February 1
Ft. Worth, TX
110
*
February 2
Waco, TX
111
*
February 3
Tyler, TX
112
*
February 4
Beaumont, TX
113
*
February 5-6
Houston, TX
114
*
February 7
115
A dining car is added to the train for the first time, as the overnight trip to Harlingen is a long one.
February 8
Harlingen, TX
116
*
February 10
Corpus Christi, TX
117
*
February 11
Austin, TX
118
*
February 12
San Antonio, TX
119
*
February 13
Del Rio, TX
120
*
February 14
El Paso, TX
121
*
February 15
Santa Fe, NM
122
*
February 16
123
*
February 18
Douglas, AZ
124
*
February 19
Tucson, AZ
125
*
February 20
Phoenix, AZ
126
*
February 21
Yuma, AZ
127
*
February 22
San Diego, CA
128
*
February
23-26
Los Angeles, CA
129
Displayed along Exposition Blvd, next to the University of Southern California campus.
February 27
Pasadena, CA
130
*
February 28
Long Beach, CA
131
*
February 29
San Bernardino, CA
132
*
March
1-8
*
The train was overhauled and refurbished at the Santa Fe shops in San Bernardino.
March 9
Riverside, CA
133
*
March 10
Bakersfield, CA
134
*
March 11
Fresno, CA
135
*
March 12
Modesto, CA
136
*
March 13
Stockton, CA
137
*
March
14-16
138
The train displayed along Crissy Field, next to Ft. Mason and the Presidio.
March 17
Palo Alto, CA
139
*
March 18
San Jose, CA
140
*
March 19
Oakland, CA
141
*
March 20
Sacramento, CA
142
*
March 21
Reno, NV
143
*
March 23
Elko, NV
144
*
March 24
Salt Lake City, UT
145
*
March 25
Provo, UT
146
*
March 26
Ogden, UT
147
*
March 27
Pocatello, ID
148
*
March 29
Boise, ID
149
*
March 30
Walla Walla, WA
150
*
March 31
Yakima, WA
151
*
April 1-2
Portland, OR
152
*
April 3
Eugene, OR
153
*
April 4
Corvalis, OR
154
*
April 6
Salem, OR
155
*
April 7
Olympia, WA
156
*
April 8
Tacoma, WA
157
*
April
9-10
Seattle, WA
158
*
April 12
Wanatchee, WA
159
*
April 13
Spokane, WA
160
*
April 14
Coeur d' Alene, ID
161
*
April 15
Missoula, MT
162
*
April 16
Butte, MT
163
*
April 17
Helena, MT
164
*
April 18
Great Falls, MT
165
*
April 20
Billings, MT
166
*
April 21
Sheridan, WY
167
*
April 22
Rapid City, SD
168
*
April 23
Pierre, SD
169
*
April 24
Aberdeen, SD
170
*
April 26
Bismark, ND
171
*
April 27
Minot, ND
172
*
April 28
Jamestown, ND
173
*
April 29
Fargo, ND
174
*
April 30
175
*
May 1
Duluth, MN
176
*
May 2
Superior, WI
177
*
May 3-4
St. Paul, MN
178
*
May 5-6
179
*
May 7
Brainerd, MN
180
*
May 8
St. Cloud, MN
181
*
May 10
Willmar, MN
182
*
May 11
Watertown, SD
183
*
May 12
Souix Falls, SD
184
*
May 13
Souix City, IA
185
*
May
14-15
Omaha, NE
186
*
May 16
Lincoln, NE
187
*
May 17
Grand Island, NE
188
*
May 19
Alliance, NE
189
*
May 20
Casper, WY
190
*
May 21
Cheyenne, WY
191
*
May
22-23
Denver, CO
192
*
May 24
Colorado Springs, CO
193
*
May 25
Pueblo, CO
194
*
May 26
Trinidad, CO
195
*
May 27
Amarillo, TX
196
*
May 29
Hutchinson, KS
197
*
May 30
Wichita, KS
198
*
May 31
Emporia, KS
199
*
June 1
Topeka, KS
200
*
June 2
Lawrence, KS
201
*
June 3
Parsons, KS
202
*
June 4
Joplin, MO
203
*
June 5
Springfield, MO
204
*
June 6-7
Kansas City, MO
205
Displayed at Kansas City Union Station.
June 9
St. Joseph, MO
206
*
June 10
Sedalia, MO
207
*
June 11
Jefferson City, MO
208
*
June
12-14
St. Louis, MO
209
*
June 15
Hannibal, MO
210
*
June 16
Quincey, IL
211
*
June 17
Burlington, IA
212
*
June 18
Iowa City, IA
213
*
June 19
Cedar Rapids, IA
214
*
June 20
Des Moines, IA
215
*
June 21
Davenport, IA
216
*
June 23
Rockford, IL
217
*
June 24
Madison, WI
218
*
June 25
La Crosse, WI
219
*
June 26
Eau Claire, WI
220
*
June 27
Wausau, WI
221
*
June 29
Green Bay, WI
222
*
June 30
Oshkosh, WI
223
*
July 1-2
Milwaukee, WI
224
*
July 3
Racine, WI
225
*
July 4
Kenosha, WI
226
*
July 5-9
227
*
July 10
Gary, IN
228
*
July 11
Joliet, IL
229
*
July 13
Peoria, IL
230
*
July 14
231
*
July 15
Kankakee, IL
232
*
July 16
Champaign, IL
233
*
July 17
Decatur, IL
234
*
July 18
Springfield, IL
235
*
July 20
Bellville, IL
236
*
July 21
Cairo, IL
237
*
July 22
Paducah, KY
238
*
July 23
Evansville, IN
239
*
July 24
Vincennes, IN
240
*
July 25
Terre Haute, IN
241
*
July 27
Danville, IL
242
*
July 28
Logansport, IN
243
*
July
29-30
Indianapolis, IN
244
*
July 31-
August 1
Louisville, KY
245
*
August 2
Bowling Green, KY
246
*
August 3
Frankfort, KY
247
*
August 4
Lexington, KY
248
*
August 5
Ashland, KY
249
*
August 6
Portsmouth, OH
250
*
August 7-8
Cincinnati, OH
251
*
August 10
Muncie, IN
252
*
August 11
Ft. Wayne, IN
253
*
August 12
South Bend, IN
254
*
August 13
Kalamazoo, MI
255
*
August 14
Grand Rapids, MI
256
*
August 15
Muskegon, MI
257
*
August 17
Lansing, MI
258
*
August 18
Battle Creek, MI
259
*
August 19
Ann Arbor, MI
260
*
August
20-22
Detroit, MI
261
*
August 24
Jackson, MI
262
*
August 25
Flint, MI
263
*
August 26
Saginaw, MI
264
*
August 27
Port Huron, MI
265
*
August 28
Pontiac, MI
266
*
August 29
Dearborn, MI
267
*
August 30
Monroe, MI
268
*
August 31
Toledo, OH
269
*
September 1
Sandusky, OH
270
*
September
2-3
Cleveland, OH
271
*
September 4
Akron, OH
272
*
September
5-6
Columbus, OH
273
*
September 7
Dayton, OH
274
*
September 8
Springfield, OH
275
*
September 9
Lima, OH
276
*
September 10
Canton, OH
277
*
September 11
Youngstown, OH
278
*
September 12
Steubenville, OH
279
*
September 14
Wheeling, WV
280
*
September
15-17
281
President Harry Truman visits the train, giving a speech from the rear platform.
September 18
Erie, PA
282
*
September 19
Oil City, PA
283
*
September 21
Johnstown, PA
284
*
September 22
Cumberland, MD
285
*
September 23
Parkersburg, WV
286
*
September 24
Clarksburg, WV
287
*
September 25
Charleston, WV
288
*
September 26
Huntington, WV
289
*
September 28
Bluefield, WV
290
*
September 29
Bristol, TN
291
*
September 30
292
*
October 1
Kingsport, TN
293
*
October 2
Knoxville, TN
294
*
October 3
Trinidad, CO
295
*
October 5
Oak Ridge, TN
296
*
October 6
Ashville, NC
297
*
October 7
Winchester, VA
298
*
October 8
Hagerstown, MD
299
*
October 9
York, PA
300
*
October 10
Lancaster, PA
301
*
October 11
Easton, PA
302
*
October 12
Morristown, PA
303
*
October
13-14
Jersey City, NJ
304
*
October 15
Princeton, NJ
305
*
October
16-17
Camden, NJ
306
*
October 19
Red Bank, NJ
307
*
October 20
Orange, NJ
308
*
October 21
Montclair, NJ
309
*
October 22
Passaic, NJ
310
*
October 23
Ridgewood, NJ
311
*
October 24
Hackensack, NJ
312
*
October 25
New Brunswick, NJ
313
*
October 26
Harve De Grace, MD
314
End of the initial tour.
October 27
Washington, DC
*
To remove documents.
October 28 - November 15
Wilmington, DE
*
To overhaul and refresh the train for the 'Northeast loop' tour -- visiting several cities in the Northeast before ending in Washington DC with the presidential inauguration in January. Most of the Marine Guards who were on the trian for the initial tour did not continue on with the train -- instead being replaced with a fresh cadre of troops.
November
16-17
Washington, DC
*
To replace documents.
November
18-19
Gettysburg, PA
315
*
November 21
Frederick, MD
316
*
November
22 - 24
Newark, NJ
317
*
November
25 - 27
Staten Island
318
*
November 28 - December 6
Brooklyn, NY
319
*
December
7 - 12
Queens, NY
320
*
December
14 - 19
Bronx, NY
321
*
December 20
Van Nest, NY
322
*
December 21
New Rochelle, NY
323
*
December 22
White Plains, NY
324
*
December 23
Yonkers, NY
325
*
December 26 - January 1
New York, NY
326
*
*
*
*
1949
January
3- 7
Boston, MA
327
*
January
8 - 13
Philadelphia, PA
328
*
January 15
Newport News, VA
329
*
January
16 - 22
Washington, DC
330
Official end of the tour, to coincide with Truman's inauguration.
September 1949 - January 1950
Washington, DC
*
'Freedom Train Documents' are placed on view in a special display at the National Archives.
*
*
*
*
 
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