8 Underground Railroad stops in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

The Underground Railroad carrying escaped slaves to freedom ran through New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Here is a look at eight spots of note in the tri-state area.

Harriet Tubman Home

180 South St. Auburn, New York
Click HERE for more info about the home.
Click HERE for more info about Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.
Harriet Tubman purchased a farm on the edge of Auburn, New York, in the town of Fleming, in 1859. After her return from service in the war in 1865, her home turned into a shelter for a cacophony of people including her parents and other relatives along with anyone who needed food, clothing, shelter or medical care. Tubman lived on this property for over fifty years, as she fought as a suffragist, social activist, and advocate for the elderly. Today, the house is owned and managed by Harriet Tubman National Historical Park’s legislative partners, Harriet Tubman Home Inc. under the auspices of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The home is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged & Indigent Negroes

180 South St. Auburn, New York
Click HERE for more info
The Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged & Indigent Negroes is owned and managed by Harriet Tubman National Historical Park’s legislative partners, Harriet Tubman Home Inc. under the auspices of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence

194 Livingston Ave. Albany, New York
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The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence, listed as a site on the Network to Freedom, served as one of the offices for the Vigilance Committee of Albany throughout the 1840s and 1850s. This organization helped hundreds of freedom seekers who passed through Albany while escaping slavery. Stephen and Harriet Myers played critical roles in this Vigilance Committee and in Underground Railroad activism within the city. Today, the building is owned by the Underground Railroad Education Center, which opens the home for tours by appointment. (Photo credit: NPS photo)

Plymouth Church

57 Orange St. Brooklyn Heights, New York
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Congregants of Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, listed as a site in the Network to Freedom, involved themselves in Underground Railroad activism throughout the 19th century. Church members involved in Underground Railroad activity included Henry C. Bowen, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Lewis Tappan. The churches many connections to the Underground Railroad led an early historian of the church to call the location “the Grand Central Depot of the Underground Railroad.” (Photo credit: NPS photo)

Stephen Smith House

645 Lafayette St. Cape May, New Jersey
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The Stephen Smith House in Cape May, New Jersey, listed as a site on the Network to Freedom, served as Stephen Smith’s summer home from the 1840s-1870s. Smith, born enslaved, purchased his freedom before moving to Philadelphia and starting a very successful coal and lumber company. It is unknown if Smith utilized this house specifically for his Underground Railroad activism – but Smith played a vital role in Philadelphia’s Underground Railroad community. This home provides an important opportunity to share Smith’s story with the public. Today, the home is privately owned, and the Network to Freedom asks that the homeowner’s privacy is respected. (Photo credit: NPS Photo / Krawitz)

New London Custom House

150 Bank St., New London, Connecticut
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The New London Custom House, listed as a site on the Network to Freedom, witnessed two significant moments in Underground Railroad history. After federal officials arrested freedom seekers who stowed away on the Cuban vessel Amistad in 1839, they towed the ship from the Long Island Sound to the New London Custom House to perform an investigation. In September 1858, federal agents arrested freedom seeker Benjamin Jones, who stowed away on a lumber schooner to find freedom. Despite the federal Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, the agents chose to release Jones. Today, the New London Custom House serves as a private nonprofit museum. (Photo credit: New London Maritime Society)

Bowne House

37-01 Bowne St. Flushing, New York
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Bowne House listed as a facility in the Network to Freedom since September 2021, serves as a historic house museum and archive. Three former residents of the home, Samuel, Robert, and William Bowne Parsons, actively served alongside a network of other New Yorkers in Underground Railroad activism. The archival records stored within the home, which document over 300 years of family and community history, provide the context of one Quaker family’s Underground Railroad work. (Photo credit: Bowne House)

Gerrit Smith National Historic Landmark

5304 Oxbow Rd, Peterboro, New York
Click HERE for more info.
The Gerrit Smith Estate served as the home for the prominent abolitionist Gerrit Smith and a prominent place for freedom seekers to stop as they escaped slavery. Smith also financially supported infamous abolitionist John Brown in his work in Kansas, and was a part of Brown’s “Secret Six” supporters of the raid in Harpers Ferry. (Photo credit: Heitzman, Gerrit Smith Estate NHL)

MORE TO CHECK OUT

North is Freedom Virtual Exhibit - Photographer Yuri Dojc's exhibit showcases photographs of Underground Railroad descendants and shares the stories of their ancestors.
Preserving Significant Places of Black History - Interactive story map created by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to celebrate New York City’s African American history.
Cape May Underground Railroad Trolley Tour - The Cape May Underground Railroad Trolley Tour, listed as a program on the Network to Freedom, discusses the little-known stories of southern New Jersey on the Underground Railroad.
 The 7-mile Cape May Underground Railroad Trolley Tour details six specific sites and highlights the contributions of this important community to Underground Railroad activism. Today, the program is managed by Cape May MAC – a private, nonprofit organization. (Photo credit: Cape May Museums, Arts, & Culture)
African Burial Ground National Monument - This national monument in New York City honors the memory of the free and enslaved Africans buried there and puts into focus the role of slavery in New York.
The memorial at African Burial Ground National Monument (Photo: AP)

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