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Murphy Orchards

Farmstead in the Town of Newfane, New York, owned by Charles and Libby McCLew in 1850. Extensive, long-standing local folklore identifies the McClews as "station masters" of the Underground Railroad. The farmstead remains virtually unchanged, and is still a privately-owned working farm enterprise. All grounds and facilities are open year round to the public. Guided Underground Railroad tours and presentations have been developed and conducted for over ten years. Tours include walking trails through a 30-acre "wilderness" area on the farm which has been dedicated to this purpose. Hopkins Creek, which flows through the property, is believed to have been an important geographic feature used to navigate towards other safe havens and ultimately to Canada. A10x12-foot chamber under the barn (probably built as a cistern) is believed to have been used as a hiding place by people escaping from slavery for many years. The entrance to the chamber and all interpretive displays are accessible for viewing to all visitors. Underground Railroad reenactments have been conducted and filmed on site, and segments have been shown throughout New York State by PBS Television and will be distributed this year by the State University of New York to all public and private schools in New York State. An archeological study of the site is in progress, concentrating on the significance of cultural material uncovered parallel with the period of the Underground Railroad, and on collected folklore and oral history from the local community indicting the use of the farm as an Underground Railroad "station." Public displays have been developed, are continually expanded, and will incorporate exhibits of archeological methods, artifacts and of the significance of cultural anthropological studies and oral traditions to historical research of the Underground Railroad.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 2402 McClew Road, Burt, 14028

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Carol Murphy

Location Type: Program

UGRR Operatives: Charles and Libby McClew