The Visitor Experience: A Different Kind of 19th- Century Battlefield
Underground Railroad activity represents a different kind of 19th-century battlefield. Like a battlefield, the events that took place on this ground and the people who participated in them are long gone. Like a battlefield, the fight was for freedom and the risks were life and death. And, like the secret network that the national monument commemorates, the history here may not be immediately obvious.
You won't see Harriet Tubman represented here in structures and statues, rather, she is memorialized in the land, water, and sky of the Eastern Shore where she was born and where she returned again and again to free others. Tubman would easily recognize this place. The landscapes and waterways that she navigated and used for sanctuary on her Underground Railroad missions have changed little from her time.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument is a new park. In the coming years, you will see services added to the park done in cooperation with Maryland's planned Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park. Today, you can explore Underground Railroad history and Harriet Tubman's story by enjoying the programs, facilities, and events sponsored and operated by our partners.
The monument's boundary encompasses an approximately 25,000- acre mosaic of federal, state, and private lands in Dorchester County, Maryland. It includes large sections of land that are significant to Tubman's early years and evoke her life while enslaved and as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. The national monument includes the following areas. There are no planned national park facilities on these sites.
- Stewart's Canal, dug by hand by free and enslaved people between 1810 and 1832 for commercial transportation. Tubman learned important outdoor skills navigating the canal and when she worked in nearby timbering operations with her father, Ben Ross. Stewart's Canal is part of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and, while part of the national monument, will continue to be owned, operated and managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Home site of Jacob Jackson, a free African American man who received a coded letter to help Tubman to communicate secretly with her family. He was a conduit for a message to alert her three brothers, Henry, Benjamin, and Robert that she would soon come to guide their escape from slavery to the north. The Jacob Jackson Home Site was donated to the National Park Service by the Conservation Fund for inclusion in the new national monument.
Places to Visit
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, Maryland
Maryland's Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, expected to open in 2015, is a 17-acre tract adjacent to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County near Church Creek, Maryland. The state park will offer exhibits, programs, and tours. Their visitor center will be built near the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge visitor center, about 12 miles south of Cambridge, Maryland off of Route 335.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, Maryland
The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway is an All-American Road, the highest level of designation for a scenic byway in the US. The byway is a 125-mile driving tour of more than two dozen historic sites and scenic vistas associated with Tubman that lie both within and outside of the national monument.
Harriet Tubman Museum, Cambridge, Maryland
The Harriet Tubman Museum is owned and operated by the non-profit Harriet Tubman Organization. Admission is free. Group tours available by appointment.
424 Race Street, Cambridge, MD 21613; (410) 228-0401.
Sailwinds Visitor Center, Cambridge, Maryland
The map and guide, Finding A Way to Freedom, offers travel information and exhibits about Tubman's life and Eastern Shore culture. Located at Sailwinds Park East in Dorchester County, just off of Route 50 at the foot of the Choptank River Bridge. Admission is free.
2 Rose Hill Place, Cambridge, MD 21613; (410) 228-1000.
Underground Railroad Travel Itinerary -- National Register of Historic Places
A travel itinerary covering 21 states with sites related to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a 25,000-acre sanctuary for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway located 12 miles south of Cambridge, Maryland. The refuge has protected this landscape so that today, it evokes Harriet Tubman's time. Fee for a private vehicle daily permit.
2145 Key Wallace Drive Cambridge, Maryland 21613; (410) 228-2677
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network connects more than 170 parks, wildlife refuges, museums, sailing ships, historic communities, rivers, and trails where you can experience the authentic Chesapeake.
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the first national water trail, follows historic routes of Smith's travels based on his map and journals. It encompasses 3,000 miles in parts of present-day Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.
Travel and Tourism
Maryland Tourism http://www.visitmaryland.org
Caroline County Tourism: http://tourcaroline.com/
Dorchester County Tourism: http://www.tourdorchester.org
WebRangers has activities just for you. http://www.webrangers.us/
Kids! See the faces and stories of the famous and forgotten in these NPS trading cards.