The Underground Railroad Story in Kennett Square, Chester County, PA

What was the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad Story in Kennett Square, Chester County, PA

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania 19348, United States

Created By: Kennett Underground Railroad Center

Tour Information

Welcome to this self-guided driving tour produced by the Kennett Underground Railroad Center (KURC), a nonprofit organization that focuses on educating the public through exhibits, guided bus tours, lectures, and education/outreach programs. KURC developed this tour for those who cannot join our bus tours during the spring and summer. Permission is required for other uses.

Surrounded by one of the greatest concentrations of Underground Railroad (UGRR) stations in the country, KURC seeks to further identify and preserve buildings, artifacts, and documents associated with the work of the Underground Railroad. KURC has the honor of being a
recognized facility in the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom program. KURC is an all-volunteer organization. We hope that you will make a tax deductible contribution. You may do so via our Facebook page or website at Please like us on Facebook. Thank you. Enjoy the tour!

Route Overview
We recommend allowing approximately 1 1 / 2 -2 hours for this 15-mile loop drive, starting at the Brandywine Valley Tourism Information Center. Please visit the center for an introduction to this area and its unique historical significance. This self-guided tour should be accompanied by the KURC brochure, available inside the Tourism Center. The tour includes stories and background information to be read by a passenger while traveling between sites. Please also note the following:
• This tour guide is intended for at least two persons. A passenger, not the driver, should read
the directions and text.
• You will travel on country roads requiring careful attention to signs and traffic.

What was the Underground Railroad?

From the earliest European settlement of what is now the United States to the close of the American Civil War in 1865, enslaved people, unwillingly transported from Africa, provided much of the labor to build this country. These people could be bought and sold like any other form of property. As long as there was slavery, there were enslaved people who sought to free themselves by escape. After the American Revolution, many northern states, including Pennsylvania, ended slavery within their own borders, while others, including near-by Delaware and Maryland, became even more dependent on slave labor. By the 1780s, enslaved people tried to escape to a place were they could be free. Some stayed locally in the Kennett area, while others went to Philadelphia, New York or New Bedford, and by the 1830s, many freedom seekers headed for the safety of Canada.

Why Kennett?

Chester County, Pennsylvania, shares its southern boundary with Delaware, and is close to the Maryland border. Both Delaware and Maryland were slave states so freedom seekers from those states, or from the lower South, had to keep moving north. This combination of factors, such as proximity, the presence of a large Quaker population opposed to slavery, organized anti-slavery societies, and a relatively large number of free African-American communities, made Chester County an important stop for freedom seekers on their way north.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

The tour begins at the white frame building, Longwood Progressive Friends Meetinghouse (LPFM). It was home to the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends, including many Quakers who had been ‘read out’ of their meeting commun... Read more
921 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square. Not open to the public. John and Hannah (nee Peirce) Cox’s home was situated approximately twenty miles from the Mason-Dixon Line. John was president of the Kennett Anti-Slavery Society, which was e... Read more
735 East Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square. Currently not open to the public. Bartholomew Fussell was a Quaker physician who opened his home to fugitive slaves. He opened a Sabbath School for African American students when he lived in Baltimor... Read more
 2120 South Willow Street. Kennett Square In 2010, local businessman Darryl Hall commissioned the mural depicting Harriet Tubman leading freedom seekers. Names on the mural commemorate local abolitionists.  Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman w... Read more
 East Linden Street  One of the oldest streets in Kennett Square,  it has been a racially diverse community for more than 150 years. You can see bronze date plaques on the exterior of homes as part of the Historic East Linden Street Proj... Read more
The Thomas Mitchell Kidnapping and "Indignation Meeting." Born  enslaved, Mitchell had been living as a free African American for 12 years. In 1849 slave hunters broke into his Unionville home and kidnapped him. Local Quakers followed them... Read more
  716 South Wawaset Rd, Pocopson. Park facilities. The house is currently not open to the public. The house was a known station on the UGRR.  An Historical Marker is in front of house along the road. Eusebius and his family were abolition... Read more


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