George William Mundelein was about to put his town, and the
United States, on the map -- at least with the Roman Catholic Church.
It was a tremendous coup for the Chicago Archdiocese to be chosen
to host the event, and over one million people attended from June
These were the
days before the Pope traveled internationally, and Papal Legate
Cardinal Bonzano, the Pope's personal representative, was to travel
from Italy to Chicago to address the faithful.
Cardinal's Train. To transport a trainload of clergy from Manhattan
to the Chicago site, the New York Central Railroad and the Pullman
Company teamed up to operate a special train along most of the route
of New York Central's 20th Century Limited from New York's
Grand Central Terminal to Chicago's Park Row Station (a special
detour onto the Illinois Central Railroad).
cars were repainted in cardinal red and gold for the special train
-- pulled by a New York Central steam locomotive -- that carried
Cardinal Bonzano, Cardinal Hayes of New York, and seven visiting
foreign cardinals (and their substantial entourages) to Chicago
in almost exactly 24 hours, leaving New York City at 10 AM on Wednesday
June 16, 1926.
In Chicago the
train was greeted by Mayor Dever, the City Council, Cardinal Mundelein,
and a cheering crowd of thousands.
After its (one)
day in the sun, the gleaming 'Red Special' was soon disbanded, repainted,
and put back into regular service. But what a train it had been!