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TUCSON, Ariz. -- University of Arizona researchers have helped uncover a slice of American history that was known to millions mourning the death of President Abraham Lincoln, but remained a mystery in modern times.

Researchers had an idea of the color of the railcar that carried the president's body from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Ill., a procession watched by millions of Americans. But the car burned in a 1911 fire, and the exact hue remained unclear.

The university says lecturer Wayne Wesolowski and professor Nancy Odegaard were able to get hold of paint chips from the car and using microscopic samples they found the true color was a dark maroon.

The discovery was prompted by Chicago-based Lincoln Funeral Car Project's effort to build a full-size version of the railcar true to history.

Associated Press,

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