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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

American Freedom Train 1975-1976

Frank DeFreitas holding a vintage Lionel HO scale American Freedom Train set from 1976, brand new and still sealed in the box.

(above / click or tap to enlarge) I am holding an original, still-sealed, HO scale Lionel American Freedom Train. This train zig-zagged across the entire United States during the years of 1975 and 1976. It carried famous / priceless artifacts and told the story of America's history.  In my future set-up and exhibits, this train will circle the Declaration of Independence and a scale-model of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

This Lionel model train is actually a famous collectible. It is very sought after, especially a complete, unused set. The aquisition of this train set is one of the final items that will now complete my Wonders of the Bible collection -- a collection that has taken nearly a decade to assemble.

On the left (in the top photo / click or tap to enlarge), in the gold frame, is a Corn-Driscoll facsimile of the Dunlap Broadside Declaration of Independence. A Corn facsimile was featured prominently on the American Freedom Train.

All About America commemmorative book from the American Freedom Train

(above / click or tap to enlarge) Slipcover from the commemorative book "All Aboard America", telling the making and story of the 1975-1976 AFT. It was seen and visited by millions of Americans as it made its way across the U.S.A. to celebrate the Bicentennial.

Here are some of the areas that the train visited (close to my own area): In Pennsylvania: Harrisburg; Scranton; Williamsport; Bethlehem; King of Prussia. In New Jersey: Morristown; Newark; New Brunswick; Asbury Park (Bradley Beach / Neptune); Atlantic City;  In Delaware: Wilmington. In Maryland: Baltimore; Cumberland; Hagerstown. If you are in PA, NJ, DE, or MD, and know of any other stops along the route, please let me know. 

In addition to the Dunlap Broadside there are several other items that I will be including in my exhibitions. They are:

set-up exhibit detail from the Wonders of the Bible exhibition in Allentown, PA

(above / click or tap to enlarge) The Robert Aitken Bible leaf of 1782 (center), the only Bible ever to gain endorsement of Congress. This was the first English language Bible printed in the United States, and was printed on Market Street, in Philadelphia, not far from Independence Hall. Either this Bible (Aitken) or the John Eliot Indian Bible (Algonquin: Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God) the first Bible ever printed in America, was featured prominently on the AFT. I have not yet found out which Bible it was.

(also above) The "Gun-Wad" Bible leaf of Christoph Saur of Germantown, PA (now part of Philadelphia). This was the first German Bible printed in the United States. It had three editions, of which Wonders of the Bible collection has all three leaves. This one shown (at right) is from 1776.

(also above) The famous "No Cross, No Crown" leaf written by the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn.

Also shown is a commemorative plate showing the Great Seal of the United States of America as designed by Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and translator of the Greek for the Thomson Bible, printed by Jane Aitken, first woman to print the Holy Bible in America. The American Eagle flag pole finial was designed by the same person that designed the John F. Kennedy half dollar: engraver Gilroy Roberts.

The first New Testament Bible ever printed in the State of Delaware 1791

(above / click or tap to enlarge) Since the American Freedom Train began its two-year journey in Wilmington, Delaware, I thought I would include this rare and wonderful Bible leaf. It is from the first New Testament printed in Delaware, in the year 1791. I have had a wonderful relationship with several Christian groups in Delaware, and it is my pleasure to be able to bring this piece of American Biblical History back to their great state. I hope that many Delaware residents come out to see and appreciate this piece of history whenever I visit their state in the future.

There will be many Bible examples that led to the founding of the United States of America  -- all originals; along with micro- and nano-scale Scripture; 3-D laser holograms and lenticulars; Stereographs of early American Christianity; my famous "touch the moon" rock; along with a special exhibit of Declaration(s) of Independence (including the World's Smallest Declaration of Independence); and many other items that celebrate God and his Creation.

Vintage 1976 Plasticville Independence Hall still sealed in the original box.

And, of course, no train layout would be complete without the inclusion of at least one example of "Plasticville USA". These kits / models were around when I was a kid ... and I was born before there were 50 states! But, in any case, I thought that I might start the train layout with Independence Hall ... and I wouldn't want to start off with just any ... it should be Plasticville Independence Hall. This one is brand new -- from 1976 -- and still sealed in the box.

This closes out my month of June Declaration of Independence celebration here at the Wonders of the Bible blog.

Hope to see you all soon ... either here, or at your location.

Getting ready for the SEMIQUINCENTENNIAL!!