National Champions

National Champions

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 24th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Funeral Train In Clemson (Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)

Today I will post a set of four photos of FDR’s funeral train as it made its way through Clemson on Friday, April 13th, 1945.

The Southern Railway, the line that FDR’s train would travel, is a fixture on the Clemson campus. Interestingly, FDR probably traveled from Washington, DC to his hometown of Warner Springs, GA many times. The Southern Line was, at the time, one of the most prestigious and modern rail lines in the nation.

The Southern Railway line through Clemson was, and still is, considered the main line between Washington DC and Atlanta. When I am in Clemson, I notice trains moving up and down the line almost every hour.

The depot is still there and was built in 1916. You'll notice in the photo that the depot was closer to the tracks than it is today. This is because sometime back the City of Clemson moved it away from the tracks.

You can also notice Calhoun Corners in a few of the pictures posted here. Below are some excerpts from FDR’s Funeral Train by Robert Klara.

It took three days to bring Roosevelt’s body from Warm Springs, Georgia (where FDR had been vacationing at his mountaintop cabin) to Hyde Park, New York, where he was buried on the grounds of his boyhood home. This 1,050-mile journey was a literal measure of the man: Not only did tens of thousands of Americans wait by the side of the train tracks to pay their respects to Roosevelt (whose body lay in a flag-draped casket visible through the windows of the funeral train’s rear Pullman), his interment train carried pretty much the entire U.S. government aboard.

Imagine something like this happening today (it never would): One dead president and one live one, both of their families, the Cabinet and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the diplomatic corps, leaders of both houses of Congress and the nine Justices of the Supreme Court—all of them boarding a single conveyance to take a trip together and doing it amid a global armed conflict. It was an altogether foolhardy idea—but it was also the greatest showing of respect for a president that this country has ever managed. Can you imagine what sort of intrigue would take place aboard that train? Can you imagine the job that the Secret Service and the U.S. military would have protecting that train? Well, you don’t have to imagine any of it, because it all actually happened in April of 1945. That’s what my book is about.

Scott Rhymer can be reached at