A Journey to Freedom, the Underground Railroad in PA

Discover the vital role Pennsylvania played in assisting slaves in their journey to independence with numerous secret hideaways and sites along the Underground Railroad.

1. Indiana County Underground Railroad Driving Tour

Indiana County

Explore freedom’s path along the self-guided Indiana County Underground Railroad Driving Tour. On the three-hour tour, you will come across prominent attractions such as the site of the former AME Zion Church (the first African church organized in the county), the McCune Store (the “safe room” in this store’s basement was used to harbor escaping slaves), and Mr. and Mrs. David Myers’ House (the couple were considered friends of slaves because they rescued and fed them on multiple occasions).

2. Blairsville Underground Railroad History Center


The Blairsville Underground Railroad History Center is housed in the former Second Baptist Church building and considered to be the oldest African American church in town. The Center serves as an educational facility and houses two main exhibits: “Freedom in the Air,” which was developed by Dr. Chris Catafalmo and is on loan from the Indiana County Historical and Genealogical Society, and “Day in the Life of an Enslaved Child,” developed by Denise Jennings-Doyle, one of the founding members of the UGRR program.

3. Kennett Square Underground Railroad Center

Kennett Square

Visitors will discover elements of our nation’s history with a visit to the Kennett Square Underground Railroad Center nearby Philadelphia. The Center aims to educate the public through exhibits, bus tours, lectures, and continuing research into local abolitionists. Imagine the journey taken by escapees, assisted by stationmasters who housed slaves, at the stations and sites at this historic destination.

4. LeMoyne House


Did you know LeMoyne House is PA’s first National Historic Landmark of the Underground Railroad? The house belonged to Dr. Francis Julius LeMoyne, who made his home and other properties available to runaway slaves on their way to freedom. The LeMoyne House served as a place for escapees to seek much-needed refuge before traveling further north to Canada.

5. Stoltzfus Bed & Breakfast


Located in the heart of Amish Country, Stoltzfus Bed & Breakfast is a restored Victorian manor once used as an Underground Railroad safe house. Built in 1845 by Captain William Fassitt, this B&B was first used to entertain guests and throw lavish parties, yet weary runaway slaves would often rest here before continuing their trip for freedom.

6. Christiana Underground Railroad Center


Take a self-guided tour at the Christiana Underground Railroad Center at Historic Zercher’s Hotel and see the evidence of the famous Resistance at Christiana, the fugitive slave rebellion that ignited a nation that was divided about slavery after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed. Zercher’s Hotel has served as a hotel, railroad depot, post office, telegraph office, jail, and currently as the offices of The Charles Bond Company, a manufacturing firm in operation at the site since 1915. Trace the steps of what led to the resistance through informative and easy-to-follow maps, photographs, and narratives.

7. Pheasant Field Bed and Breakfast


The “John Miller farm,” now the Pheasant Field Bed and Breakfast, is part of an original land grant purchased from the heirs of William Penn by Matthew Miller Sr. around 1730. Guest should note the floor in a closet of the summer kitchen was cut so that freedom seekers could hide until it was safe enough for them to move on to the next safe house. When this section of the property was remodeled in the 1970's, pieces of plates and eating utensils were found - perhaps from the food supplied to the runaways.

8. Dobbin House Tavern


Once used as an Underground Railroad site where slaves were provided refuge, the Dobbin House Tavern in Gettysburg is now a colonial-style restaurant and tavern. Order yourself an elegant meal with the option to stay the night at the circa-1776 home, which operates as a B&B. Look at period antiques, see where slaves used to hide from oppressors, and step into the suite that overlooks the site of former President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

To dive into more history about PA’s Underground Railroad, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.

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