By Scott Tody
This tour also includes the Merrick Art Gallery, where this year a tunnel believed to be part of the Underground Railroad was discovered.
NEW BRIGHTON – On Sept. 30, New Brighton will host its free third Underground Railroad Walking Tour.
There will be refreshments served. The event will include refreshments
On the 30th of September, the New Brighton Historical Society will host a Free Underground Railroad Walking Tour. This event starts at 9 am at the current location of J&J Spratt funeral home, 1612 Third Ave. The time slots for the walkers must be reserved upon arrival. The tours are available on a first come, first served basis.
NBHS volunteers and members will give information about the tours. They leave every 15 mins and visit local Underground Railroad stops, a system of secret routes and safe houses that helped runaway enslaved persons on their journeys towards freedom in the North.
The NBHS warns participants that the tour route includes a hill as well as some uneven pavement.
Onsite, you can purchase historical information, exhibits, foods, drinks, and other merchandise. WBVP Radio broadcasts live from the event.
A tunnel believed to be part of the Underground Railroad was found in the Merrick Art Gallery during a plumbing project. An entrance to the tunnel was discovered during a plumbing excavation of the Merrick Museum’s backyard.
During museum hours, you can visit the exposed entrance of the tunnel.
Michelle Long, Merrick’s director stated that they had just bought a gazebo for the entrance and were in the process of installing the gazebo. The gazebo is used to cover up the entrance of the opening. The next step is to repair the bricks. The people can see it right now from the top. “We are the final stop of the Underground Tours and you can see the entrance to the tunnel, but it’s not yet ready for public entry.”
This 2.5-mile walking tour takes participants to eight homes and buildings that either were part of the Underground Railroad or had ties with famous abolitionists.
Mike Spratt, NBHS President said that “school history” is taught on a macro level. Local history is rarely taught, nor are the locals’ contributions to larger historical events. We study important people, places, and events that have both good and bad sides. “We started the tour after a student asked how New Brighton fit into the Underground Railroad, and nobody could give an answer.”
New Brighton is a tour that shows how the locals played an important role in larger events going on all around them.
Spratt stated that people who take this tour will have a greater understanding of New Brighton’s role in helping slaves escape slavery.b
Opening night’s event will focus more on the region beyond New Brighton. The event will feature stories of people who built lives in Pittsburgh after finding freedom. Spratt says they’ll hear more about Frederick Douglass, a former slave who was an abolitionist and made frequent visits to the area.
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