Saturday, May 10, 2014

Madison, IN

Madison, Indiana, (population 11,967) has a lot of Underground Railroad history. Since we did not have a ton of miles to cover today, I spent the entire morning exploring the town before churning out the miles. 

We ate breakfast out at the Clifty Inn--a beautiful inn right within the state park. 

Here's the view of the Ohio River from the inn:

Turn in a different direction, and this is the view:

Once in Madison, I explored the waterfront first. 

There are homes along that ridge on the other side of the river; what a view they must have!

A woman named Connie took us on a tour of the Georgetown/Walnut Street area of town. Here she is, standing in front of the Walnut Street home she restored. The back end of her home was built in the 1830s, the front end in the 1840s. The typical home on this street was built during that era, in the shotgun style: short dimension facing the street with a gangway running down the side, front to back. 

15 or 20 free-black Underground Railroad conductors lived on Walnut Street. There were so many people involved with helping slaves flee north that armed conductors were stationed every two miles along the route through town during a night that escaped slaves were being moved through. 

The brick house below was built by William Anderson, a minister and free black man who was active with the UGRR.  

He preached in the building next door to his house until he built the A.M.E Church around the corner, which has been recently restored.

This next home was built by Elijah Anderson (no relation to William), who was so active with the UGRR that he helped over 1,000 slaves escape. He was very light-skinned, so he would dress up as a slave owner and usher escaping slaves over the ferry that crossed the river. 

The following home was owned by a wealthy pro-slavery man. He had a sizable stable out back. UGRR conductors on the street would "borrow" the man's horses in the middle of the night, wrap the horses hooves in rags to silence them, and use the horses to move fleeing slaves--returning the horses later to the stable. Apparently, the man never caught on that his horses were being used this way. 

We also had a tour of this original fire house on Walnut Street:

No UGRR history, but interesting nonetheless. Hook and ladder truck, wooden water pipes, etc. 

On the way out of town, we visited this wall made out of ancient rock that has fossils in it:

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