Indiana played a large role in the Underground Railroad, helping thousands of escaped slaves safely travel through the Hoosier state. While it’s noted that there are hundreds of sites throughout Indiana that housed those fleeing slavery, several buildings stand out as some of the most important in the state. These 7 incredible places in Indiana were once major stops along the Underground Railroad.
1. The Carpenter House - Evansville
This famous house is a local legend in Evansville. It was once owned by Willard Carpenter, a railroad promoter who became well established in this southern Indiana city. Before the Civil War even broke out, the Carpenter House became one of the very first stops fleeing slaves would seek refuge when reaching Indiana's borders. A stone tunnel was built to lead slaves to Carpenter's basement, where they could hide until they were ready to be moved farther north.
You can still visit this house and take a tour of the grounds at 413 Carpenter St, Evansville, IN 47708.
2. Erastus Farnham House - Fremont
Constructed in 1849, the Erastus Farnham House is speculated to have been a popular stop along the Underground Railroad. The popular belief is that Erastus actually built the house with the Underground Railroad in mind, creating a cupola at the top of the building to serve as a lookout area and an internal cistern to gather water from the gutters for slaves hidden within his walls.
You'll find this historic house just south of Fremont on Indiana State Road 827.
3. Eleutherian College - Madison
This college is located in Lancaster, an unincorporated community that resides in the city of Madison. It was founded in the early 1800s and run by the Hoyt-Whipple family. The Hoyts became instrumental in the Underground Railroad and used this schoolhouse to hide runaway slaves who had made the journey from Madison.
You can visit this building at 6927 IN-250, Madison, IN 47250.
4. Slippery Noodle Inn - Indianapolis
This historic inn is the state's oldest bar that helped escaped slaves find safe passage along the Underground Railroad. The building's basement was used to house runaway slaves along the railroad in the mid-1800s and the building is actually rumored to be haunted by slaves who died of illnesses and were unable to escape.
You can visit this historic bar at 372 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46225.
The city of Westfield was a prominent stop along the Underground Railroad. Several private homes were used to house runaway slaves and still contain the hiding places and secret doors that residents would use to keep escaped slaves hidden and safe. While these homes are privately owned, you can learn more about them at the Westfield Washington Historical Society & Museum.
You'll find this museum at 130 Penn St, Westfield, IN 46074.
6. The Town Clock Church - New Albany
This historic church in New Albany was a major connecting point between other cities along the Underground Railroad and offered a safe haven to wearied runaway slaves. This church was completed in 1852 and was seen as a beacon of hope along the Underground Railroad.
You can visit this famous church at 300 E Main St, New Albany, IN 47150.
7. The Levi and Catharine Coffin House - Fountain City
This National Historic Landmark served a huge function in the Underground Railroad and was known as the "Grand Central Station" of the underground movement. Owned by Catharine and Levi Coffin, it is rumored that this couple helped over 2,000 slaves escape to freedom over the twenty years they resided in this house. The Coffins later moved to Ohio where they continued to help slaves escape. The Coffins were even fictionalized in the narrative "Uncle Tom's Cabin" as the couple who help escaped slave, Eliza Harris.
You can take a tour of this historic building at 201 US-27, Fountain City, IN 47341.
Have you ever visited any of these major stops along the Underground Railroad in Indiana? For more history of the Hoosier state, check out these
10 incredible National Landmarks in Indiana.
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