Since 1903, The Lincoln Society in Peekskill had dedicated itself to perpetuating and honoring the memory of Abraham Lincoln, who stopped in Peekskill on February 19, 1861, on the way to his inauguration in Washington DC, with commemorative events, parades and dinners.
No effort was made to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Lincoln visit in 1886. The 50th anniversary in 1911 was a different story. A lavish dinner was sponsored by the Lincoln Society of Peekskill at the Eagle Hotel on Main Street. The Lincoln “Exedra”, the memorial stone alcove and plaque to Lincoln on South Street, was created in 1925. The "Lincoln Exedra" overlooks the site of the 1861 depot. The concept and reality of the stone memorial to Mr. Lincoln’s visit was the inspiration of Mr. John Smith Jr. of Peekskill. Smith was a veteran of the Civil War, where he held the rank of Captain. Smith was also a president of the Lincoln Society in 1917-1918, which had been formed in Peekskill in 1903. Smith donated his family land for the Lincoln exedra monument. The "Lincoln Exedra" overlooks the site of the 1861 depot. The still standing structure is close to 100 years of age and is beginning to show its age. In 2017, The Lincoln Society in Peekskill began a fund drive to fully restore the "Lincoln Exedra".
The old freight station, now the Lincoln Depot Museum, was acquired in 2005 and fully restored and opened in 2014. It is set back from Water Street at the bottom of Central Avenue and is in an exact sight line from the Exedra.
The 100th anniversary in 1961 was celebrated with a theatrical re-enactment sponsored by the City and Peekskill Military Academy, who were on the scene during the 1861 event. Actors portrayed Lincoln and William Nelson of Peekskill, who had served with the president elect the year 1847-49 and shared anti-slavery attitudes. Nelson was described by Lincoln in 1861 as "our mutual friend." It had been William Nelson's invitation to Lincoln which resulted in the Peekskill visit.
In recent times, a commemoration is sponsored by the Lincoln Society in Peekskill, in cooperation with the Lincoln Depot Museum, with a procession from the Exedra Monument, to the Museum. It is accompanied by the Color Guard from West Point Military Academy, Civil War Living Historians and Re-enactors, Boy Scouts, and Blue Mountain Middle School students equipped with period uniforms.
The year 2011 marked the 150th Peekskill anniversary of the Lincoln visit. A special event was staged including a ceremony by the National Park Service, re-tracing Lincoln's complete inaugural train ride from Springfield Illinois to Washington DC. The Lincoln Society also commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and the Lincoln Funeral Train trip, with special events at the Lincoln Depot Museum.
The Lincoln Society of Peekskill will celebrate its 116th anniversary in year with a gala ball and commemorative event scheduled for April, 2018.