Harriet Tubman Home for Aged & Indigent Negroes

Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged in the winter. White snow makes the white house look fluffy.

Quick Facts

Location:
The Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Negroes is located at 180 South St. in Auburn, NY.
Significance:
Harriet Tubman’s vision of creating a nursing home for the poor and old in her community was realized with the creation of the Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Negroes. She purchased the property in 1896 and, with the help of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the facility opened its doors to patients in 1908.
Designation:
Designated a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 30, 1974. Designated Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, under the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, on January 10, 2017.
OPEN TO PUBLIC:
Yes

Harriet Tubman has long been known for her work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and her unwavering fight for abolition. As a conductor, Tubman returned to Dorchester County, Maryland thirteen times bringing North to freedom 70 of her family and friends earning her the moniker, “Moses of Her People.”

After serving the Northern Army as a scout, spy, and nurse during the Civil War, Tubman returned to her home in Auburn/Fleming, NY which she had purchased in 1859 from then US Senator from NY, William Seward. At her residence, Tubman cared for family members, including her aging parents, and continued her humanitarian work taking in those in need of shelter, food, clothing, and medical attention.

At the age of 74, Tubman purchased at auction a 25 acre parcel of land with numerous structures which abutted her residential property.  Her hope was to establish the Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Negroes to carry on her work, after she was gone, of caring for the old and poor in her community. When she was unable to raise funds necessary to open the facility, Tubman deeded the property to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in exchange for their opening and operating the Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Negroes. The facility operated from 1908 until the early 1920s. Tubman herself became a patient, staying in a structure on the property called John Brown Hall which was used as the infirmary and main dormitory, until her death in 1913.

After it closed, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church held on to the property but the buildings fell into severe disrepair. In 1953, the AME Zion Church re-built one structure and opened it to the public as a museum preserving the humanitarian vision of its founder, Harriet Tubman. The property became part of Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, a partnership park between the National Park Service and the Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. under the auspices of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

Last updated: October 23, 2018