Belmont Mansion was the 18th and 19th century home of Judge Richard Peters and family. In 1787, Judge Peters was one of the first non-Quakers to join the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery (PAS). This society was organized in 1775 with two strategies: Petitioning and Legal Work. From the 1780’s they ran the most important legal aid system for endangered African American by “lawyerly” chipping away at slavery’s margins. A major concern for PAS was the kidnapping of free blacks the ‘”reverse underground railroad”. PAS was also on the side of freedom whether the person threatened was free or a fugitive. The “Columbia and Philadelphia” Railroad was built across Belmont in 1829. The western end of the “Columbia and Philadelphia” Railroad Bridge across the Schuylkill River was set on the banks of the Belmont property and an inclined plane ran diagonally from the bridge to just north of Belmont. This same railroad was used by William Whipper, UGRR agent and lumber merchant of Columbia, PA. Freedom Seekers were often hid in the false end of a boxcar when leaving Columbia and an UGRR agent received them when they got off at the head of the inclined plane at Belmont.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: 2000 Belmont Mansion Drive, Philadelphia, 19131
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Audrey Johnson-Thornton
Location Type: Site
UGRR Operatives: Judge Richard Peters