The narrow strip of land lining both sides of the Ohio River in the tri-state Kentucky/Indiana/Ohio region saw some of the Underground Railroad’s most intense activity. Over several days we crossed the river so many times on our route, we seldom knew in which state we were. The towns, museums and documented safe houses have begun to blur, however a few were remarkable.
NEW ALBANY, INDIANA: The Carnegie Center for Art and History’s exhibit, “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage: Men and Women of the URR” was a multi media experience with newspaper articles and ads posting rewards for finding and returning runaway slaves.
In MADISON, INDIANA and MAYSVILLE, KENTUCKY we toured houses with secret passages under flooring and between walls where freedom seekers were hidden.
RIPLEY, OHIO is home to the John Rankin House and the John Parker House; the first built on a high hill and belonging to a reverend, and the latter was near the river bank and owned by a freed slave. Together the men were credited with aiding and assisting thousands.
We were very disappointed when we were unable to visit the relatively new URR Museum in CINCINNATI, and the National African American Museum in WILBERFORCE, OHIO, as both were closed on the days we happened to be there.