National Historic Landmarks and the Network to Freedom

Recognizing that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression, the historical Underground Railroad (UGRR) sought to address the injustices of slavery and make freedom a reality in the United States. The National Park Service Network to Freedom Program (NTF) through shared leadership with local, state, and federal entities, as well as interested individuals and organizations, promotes programs and partnerships to commemorate, preserve sites, and other resources associated with, and educate the public about the historical significance of the UGRR. The following National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) in the NPS Midwest Region are also listed on the Network to Freedom. Visit the NTF website at: www.nps.gov/subjects/ugrr/ntf_member/ntf_member_database.htm.

Poison Springs Battlefield

Poison Spring Battlefield in Bluff City, Arkansas is part of a thematic NHL called the "Camden Expedition Sites." Union loses included 117 dead and 65 wounded were soldiers from the First Kansas Colored Infantry.
Black sign in a forest.

Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Park.


Levi Coffin House NHL

The Levi Coffin House NHL in Fountain City, Indiana was the home of Levi and Catharine Coffin from 1839 to 1847. During that time it is estimated that the Coffins aided an average of 100 freedom seekers a year.
B&W photo of a two-story brick home with many windows.

National Park Service


Eleutherian College NHL

The founders of Historic Eleutherian College in Lancaster, Indiana were active in the Underground Railroad and formed the college in 1848-49 for the purpose of educating all students regardless of race or gender. The photo above is the Classroom and Chapel Building.
Stone building with a black and white roof.

National Park Service


Owen Lovejoy House NHL

The house in Princeton, Illinois is an 1838 Greek Revival style building and was the home of the Denham and Lovejoy families for nearly 100 years (1838-1931). It is also one of the best documented Underground Railroad Stations in Illinois.
Small, white house with a front porch and tree.

National Park Service


Madison Historic District NHL

The Georgetown Neighborhood in Madison, Indiana became home to African Americans by the 1830s and then developed into an Underground Railroad network. Sixty-four percent of the neighborhood from that time exists today.
Colorful town house fronts with a street in front.

National Park Service


Rev. George B. Hitchcock House NHL

Built in 1856 by Congregational minister George B. Hitchcock in Lewis, Iowa, the house served as a station for fugitive slaves escaping from Missouri and from Kansas Territory during the “bleeding Kansas” period.
B&W photo of a two-story brick house.
Hitchcock House in 1984, prior to its restoration.

Photo courtesy of Sandy Fairbairn, Hitchcock House Advisory Committee.


John Rankin House NHL

Built in 1828 in Ripely, Ohio and located on Liberty Hill which overlooks the Ohio River, the Rankin home was a perfect choice to become a stopping point on the Underground Railroad.
Small, brown house.

National Park Service


John P. Parker House NHL

Parker, a formerly enslaved African who purchased his freedom, became a crusader to abolish slavery with his courageous work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. The photo shows his home in Ripley, Ohio.
Two-story brick house.
The John P. Parker House in the restoration process.

National Park Service


Milton House NHL

Built by Milton’s founder, Joseph Goodrich in Wisconsin, a staunch abolitionist and member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church, who secretly harbored freedom seekers in the cellar of the Milton House.
White, stone house with green painted words that say Milton House.

National Park Service


Originally published in "Exceptional Places" Vol. 7, 2012, a newsletter of the Division of Cultural Resources, Midwest Region. Written by Michele Curran.