Springboro, Ohio – on the route to freedom

A Scoot and Shoot event.

Being located on the Ohio River just across the water from Kentucky, Cincinnati in particular, and Ohio in general were heavily engaged in the Underground Railroad and former slaves’ journeys to freedom. A small town just north of Cincinnati called Springboro was founded by a Quaker named Jonathon Wright in  1815. The Quakers abhorred slavery and Springboro became actively involved in the Underground Railroad. Quaker and non-Quaker residents of Springboro risked legal consequences from their illegal activity of aiding slaves on their way to freedom. Many of the homes and businesses of these courageous individuals are still standing on or near Main Street in the small downtown strip of Springboro, Ohio.

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Unfortunately, even though I had a brochure that described the various buildings, I am not able to match the exact buildings to the descriptions I have. We started the tour somewhere in the middle, later crossed the street, and ducked into the Wooly Bully Yarn Company at one point. Which, by the way, had an awesome selection of yarns. On these Scoot and Shoot events my companions are more interested in taking photographs than in writing journalistic reports. And sometimes I am too.

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At 200 South Main Street the Jonah Thomas House has a documented connection to the Underground Railroad.

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Jonah was a Quaker and a conductor on the Springboro leg of the Underground Railroad.

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I think this is the Joseph Stanton House at 250 South Main Street. According to the Springboro Chamber of Commerce brochure, “This building was a stop on the Underground Railroad which may have been known as the ‘Quilt House.’ Quilts hung in back of the house told runaway slaves it was safe to enter. The basement hiding space extended westward under what is now the side walk.”

I’m patting myself on the back that I was able to bring you two buildings that were involved in the Underground Railroad, but instead of trying to read illegible house numbers, or match my photos to small black and white thumbnails on the brochure, I’m just going to throw in a slide show of some of the buildings and details I saw along Main Street in Springboro. Perhaps you’ll take the walking tour someday if you find yourself in the area.

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I don’t know about you, but I have always been enthralled by the idea of an Underground Railroad. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center stands on the riverfront in downtown Cincinnati and teaches about not only the path to freedom through this area, but also about current locations where freedom is still out of reach. It’s worth a visit if you are in town. Maybe I’ll visit there with my camera, and a notebook, sometime soon and share my identified pictures with you.

Do you live where an interesting part of history took place?

12 thoughts on “Springboro, Ohio – on the route to freedom”

    1. I am fascinated by the history also. Have you ever been to Cincinnati and seen the Ohio River? There is a church that sits up on a hill overlooking the river, that reportedly was involved in signaling whether it was safe to continue on or not. I really need to spend more time digging around and visiting important sites in the area. Do you have any places in Canada that are known for the Underground Railroad? I read that many times slaves went all the way to Canada to feel safe.

  1. Grand collection of shots, Christine ~ from history to Wooly Bully yarns! I went to school in Wmsburg and loved the history. In NC, we lived near Old Salem. Great history AND yarns.

    1. Thanks Nancy. I’ve visited Williamsburg. I don’t know much about Old Salem. I think when the international trips become too tiring for us to try, we will make an effort to travel around the country a little bit and experience the history that is here. We’ve done some of that, but there is a lot more to see.

      Do you knit or crochet? Wooly Bully was a knitters heaven.

  2. Great images, and fun to know that these buildings have a connection to the Underground Railroad. We owned an historic home in Lexington, but it didn’t have quite the same background, just a fun old house.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Christine.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    1. I remember your house from your pictures. I’m sure Lexington had some pretty interesting history right where you lived. Do you know much about the history of where you are living now? It probably goes way back. . .you think?

  3. Oh, Christine, I LOVE this. (I’m on a major Civil War kick right now). If the walls of those buildings could talk, can you imagine the incredible stories they’d whisper in our ears? I grew up in nearby PA and spent lots of time in Ohio; I’m wishing this is a place I’d have visited when I lived on that side of the country. Thanks so much for sharing. I agree – so inspirational. I was able to see some old farmhouses that were part of the Underground Railroad in northwestern PA last August… my mind was RACING. I can imagine you felt the same way.

  4. The Blackstone Valley, where we live was the birthplace of the American industrial revolution, so what we have are mills. Lots of mills. Dams, canals, factories, more dams and canals. Pollution and many years later, mostly cleaned up watershed. I’ve never been to the mid-west, but I would love to see it. Boston was also part of the underground railway and the Black History Museum in Boston holds a lot of that history. We have the Freedom Trail. The Glory Regiment. A lot of interesting history around here, too.

  5. I enjoyed learning about the Underground Railroad back in my school days. I was encouraged to hear that the risks involved did not deter citizens from helping those seeking their way to freedom. We never know what difference we may make in someone else’s life.


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