You are here
Uncover Pennsylvania's Underground Railroad Heritage
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, freedom seekers made their way by any means necessary to Pennsylvania seeking liberty and civil rights. They were guided by conductors, harbored and welcomed in safe houses, and transported at "stations" along the way. Today, you and your guests can travel in their footsteps, stand on hallowed ground and commune with the stewards of freedom. Historic documents written by those who assisted as "conductors" attest that the Old French Road from Pittsburgh to Erie was an important freedom route. Free people of color who lived along the trail provided a network of assistance as well as resistance to bounty hunters. Plan your trip with stops at:
- Erie Maritime Museum (150 E. Front Street, Erie). Few realize the critically important role that African Americans played in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. Occupations in the maritime trade often provided the first opportunities for freedom seekers to earn a way out of bondage. This story is captured among the many artifacts at the Erie Maritime Museum.
- Mercer County Historical Society (119 S. Pitt Street, Mercer). African-American history of the area is included in its many topics and changing exhibits.
- Blairsville Underground Railroad (214 S. East Lane, Blairsville). This small museum and historical society interprets the events of the famous Blairsville Resistance which shaped the pre-Civil War events in this western PA community and linked its history forever to the quest for freedom.
- LeMoyne House (49 E. Maiden Street, Washington). Pennsylvania's first National Historic Landmark of the Underground Railroad built in 1812. Francis LeMoyne opened his home and properties as stops along the Underground Railroad.
- Senator John Heinz History Center (1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh). The center is the gateway for Civil War and Underground Railroad activities in Western Pennsylvania linking historical collections from Pittsburgh to Erie into complementary interpretive experiences.
So, gather your friends, family, and guests, and partake in your very own Quest for Freedom to experience the great history of western Pennsylvania. Book your stay at nearby Bed and Breakfasts along the way.