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Finney Barn Site

By the early 1850s, the site of Finney’s Barn, operated by Seymour Finney, in connection with his Detroit hotel, was an important Underground Railroad station. The barn was ideally situated at the northern terminus of Underground Railroad networks in Michigan and from nearby states. Up in the hayloft or wedged into false-bottomed wagons, the formerly enslaved waited until the dark of night to be carried across the Detroit River to Canada or other hiding places in Michigan. Finney’s son and Underground Railroad participants identified Finney’s Barn as a key station in the region in the decade before the Civil War. Finney embraced the Free-Soil, and then Republican Party. In 1864, retired from the hotel business, Finney publicly lectured for racial equality. As early as 1878, Finney’s Barn was described in Michigan history books as a station on the Underground Railroad. Despite its historical significance, the barn was razed for the Detroit Chamber of Commerce building in 1892. Today that building bears an historical plaque presented September 1926 by the City of Detroit, designating the site as Detroit’s Underground Railway Station. On January 23, 1980, the State of Michigan placed a historic marker opposite the current Griswold St. building entrance commemorating the Finney Barn site.

Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.

Location: 1212 Griswold Street, Detroit, Wayne, 48226-1802

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Richard Karp

Location Type: Site

UGRR Operatives: Seymour Finney