Although the base and platform have occasionally been altered to accommodate the larger size of modern coffins and for the ease of the attending military personnel, it is basically the same today as it was in Lincoln's time.

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The Lincoln catafalque in 2006, after the most recent replacement of its fabric covering.
The Lincoln catafalque in 2006, after the most recent replacement of its fabric covering.

Presently the catafalque measures 7 feet 1 inch (216 cm) long, 2 feet 6 inches (76 cm) wide, and 2 feet (61 cm) high. The attached base is 8 feet 10 inches (269 cm) long, 4 feet 3½ inches (131 cm) wide, and 2 inches (5 cm) high. The platform is 11 feet 1 inch (338 cm) long, 6 feet (183 cm) wide, and 9¼ inches (23.5 cm) high.

The cloth covering the Lincoln catafalque has been replaced several times, but the style of the drapery is similar to that used in 1865.

Rotunda Services

Since 1865, the Lincoln catafalque has been used for most of the services in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. In the case of the Unknowns of World War II and the Korean War, an additional catafalque was built with the coffin of each at some point resting on the Lincoln catafalque.

The Lincoln catafalque has not been used for those lying in honor: the Capitol Police officers in 1998, Rosa Parks in 2005, Billy Graham in 2018.

For more information, please see the full list of those who have lain in state or in honor in the Rotunda.

Other Use and Locations

The Lincoln catafalque has also been used for services elsewhere. It was used in the Supreme Court Room of the Capitol for the services of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in 1873, and it was used in the entrance to the House chamber for Representative Elijah Cummings in 2019.

The Lincoln catafalque was used in the Supreme Court Building for the lying in repose of:

  • Justice Antonin Scalia; February 19, 2016
  • Chief Justice William Rehnquist; September 6-7, 2005
  • Justice Harry A. Blackmun; March 8, 1999
  • Former Justice William J. Brennan Jr.; July 28, 1997
  • Former Chief Justice Warren Earl Burger ; June 28, 1995
  • Former Justice Thurgood Marshall; January 27, 1993
  • Former Chief Justice Earl Warren; July 11-12, 1974

In 1996 it was used for the lying in state of Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown at the Department of Commerce building.

When not in use, the Lincoln catafalque is kept in a specially constructed display area in the Exhibition Hall of the Capitol Visitor Center.

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