Last updated: February 10, 2017
The Sroufe House, in Mason County, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its direct association with the Underground Railroad and is significant under Criterion A. The documentation, prepared by a Girl Scout, highlights the role the house played in the escape of three enslaved people owned by the Sroufe family. Noted Underground Railroad “conductor” John P. Parker, a free African American man living across the river in Ohio, helped Celia Brooks, her husband, and baby escape bondage and cross the river to freedom. The baby, Louis Porter Sroufe, was taken from the rear room of the house by Porter. Porter recounted this tale in his autobiography, a rare instance that an incident involving the Underground Railroad can be tied to a specific, still extant location. The nomination of the Sroufe House marks the first instance of an identified and documented site associated with the Underground Railroad in Kentucky has been listed in the National Register. Unlike the typical narrative of an Underground Railroad claim, part of the significance of the Sroufe House episode is that the story does not depict the Sroufe family as abolitionists or as sympathetic to the cause of liberating enslaved people. In this instance, the Sroufe House gained its association with the Underground Railroad in opposition to the owners' interests. The house retains a high degree of integrity from the time of the 1864 incident.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.