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Museums and Historical Sites

Central Maryland

Baltimore City

Orchard Street A.M.E. Church
Baltimore, Maryland
The Orchard Street AM.E. Church at 512 Orchard Street began in 1825 as prayer meetings in the home of Truman Le Pratt, a Caribbean-born former slave. A formal building was built in 1837 — free Blacks and slaves donated their labor and built the structure at night by torchlight. The present church building was built in 1882. According to oral tradition, the church's original buildings served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. During the 1970s, constructions workers uncovered a secret tunnel underneath the church, which is now the oldest standing building constructed by Blacks in the city of Baltimore.

President Street Station
Baltimore, Md.
Many slaves escaped to the North using actual trains. Baltimore was a major stop on the railroad, and the President Street Station at 601 President Street and its predecessor at the Pratt and Charles Street Depot saw its share of fugitive slaves pass through, including Frederick Douglass, William and Ellen Craft, Henry "Box" Brown, and others. In 1857, one such slave, a young, pregnant woman made a daring escape from slavery by packing herself up in a box and shipping herself by train from Baltimore to freedom in Philadelphia. Today, the President Street Station is now home to the Baltimore Civil War Museum, operated by the Maryland Historical Society.

Baltimore County

Hampton Mansion
Towson, Md.
When it was built in 1790, the Hampton Mansion was the largest house in the United States. The 62-acre plantation at 535 Hampton Lane was owned by the Ridgely family, including former Maryland Governor Charles Carnan Ridgely. The Ridgelys owned slaves as early as 1747, and between 1790 and 1830, the family presided over one the largest slave populations in Maryland history, at one time employing 340 slaves on the property. More than 70 cases of Hampton runaways have been documented. It is likely that many of these fugitives used the Underground Railroad network to aid their escapes. The Hampton Mansion has been named a National Historic Site by the National Park Service.

Cecil County

Howard Methodist Episcopal Church Site
Port Deposit, Md.
The Howard Methodist Episcopal Church, also known as Howard Chapel, was built by freed African Americans in 1853, a decade before the Emancipation Proclamation. Church members worked to free other Blacks, and the church became a station on the Underground Railroad. The church on Center Street was demolished in 1981. Today, the cornerstone remains, proclaiming "Howard M.E. Church Built 1853."

Montgomery County

Bloomfield Estate
Sandy Spring, Md.
A white man named Richard Bentley who lived the Bloomfield estate at 18000 Bentley Road is alleged to have aided fugitive slaves from his home in the mid 1800s — providing them with shelter, clothing, and directions North. In the 1850s, a free Black man named Samuel Adams worked as a blacksmith on the Bloomfield estate. He later moved to Canada where he connected with the fugitive slaves from Sandy Spring, Md. who had fled there.

Madison House
Brookeville, Md.
The Madison house at Georgia Avenue and Market Street has ties to the Quaker abolitionist community in nearby Sandy Spring. Decades after the end of the Civil War, a secret room was discovered within the foundations of the house, which had long been rumored to be a stop on the Underground Railroad. This room was accessible only by lifting the floorboards of the family room above it, then traveling the stone staircase. An old gun was also found in the secret chamber.

Mount Airy
Sandy Spring, Md.
Mount Airy, the home of Sarah and Bernard Gilpin, was a station on the Underground Railroad. The white couple would place a lamp in the window of their home at 18120 New Hampshire Avenue, a signal to fugitive slaves that this was a safe place to stop.

Sandy Spring Friends' Meetinghouse
Sandy Spring, Md.
Built in 1817, the Sandy Spring Friends' Meetinghouse at 17901 Bentley Road. served as a place of congregation and worship for local Quakers, who were involved in the anti-slavery movement and operated Underground Railroad stations nearby to assist fugitive slaves.

Sandy Spring Slave Museum
Sandy Spring, Md.
The Sandy Spring Museum at 18524 Brooke Road is located on a one-acre site. Among its exhibits are an actual slave cabin, and a cross-section of a full-size slaving clipper ship. Tours are available by appointment.

Sharp Street Church
Sandy Spring, Md.
The Sharp Street Church on Route 108 was established in 1822 by newly freed Blacks with the help of the local Quaker population. Due to the variety of Underground Railroad activity in the Sandy Spring area, it is believed that this church played a role.

St. Mary's Church
Rockville, Md.
Built in 1817, St, Mary's Church at 520 Veirs Mill Road is the oldest church still in use in Rockville. Although the Catholic Church sanctioned slaveholding among its members, agents of the Underground Railroad operated here, and in 1854 helped young fugitive Ann Maria Weems] escape.

Uncle Tom's Cabin
Bethesda, Md.
Former slave Josiah Henson was the model for the character Uncle Tom" in Harriet Beecher Stowe's abolitionist novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. His home of thirty years is located near the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Tilden Lane.

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