UGRR Highlights - Section 5: Erie, PA to Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada

Dunkirk, NY

Orchard Park, NY

  • Obadiah Baker Homestead and Historical Marker at E. Quaker St. and Baker Rd. This preserved house was a refuge station and part of the Quaker community that spoke out against slavery.

Buffalo, NY

  • For more information about African American history in the Buffalo region visit the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Michigan Street Baptist Church, 511 Michigan Ave. This Underground Railroad station is the oldest property continuously owned/operated by African Americans and was part of the history of Buffalo's African American community.
  • Mary B Talbert Historical Marker lies adjacent to the Church. Talbert was a civil rights leader who helped organize the "Niagara Movement," which later became the NAACP.
  • J. Edward Nash House, 36 Nash St. Named for the pastor of the Michigan Street Baptist Church who, with Mary Talbert, helped organize the "Niagara Movement", the forerunner to the NAACP.
  • Motherland Connextions Inc. offers tours about Underground Railroad and slide shows.
  • African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. Showcases the talents of African American playwrights, directors and actors.
  • Ujima Company, Inc., at 429 Plymouth Ave., Suite 2. A professional theatre company dedicated to the development and presentation of work by African Americans and other third world artists.
  • Broderick Park and Historic Marker. Before the Peace Bridge existed, this was an important launching site for freedom seekers who had been hiding in the Michigan Street Baptist Church, traveling by boat over the narrowest part of the Niagara River to Canada. Every year the Harriet Tubman 300 and the Buffalo Quarters Historical Society run a memorial service at this site to honor conductors who risked their lives to help freedom seekers gain independence in Canada.

Fort Erie, ON

  • Niagara Freedom Trail Plaque describes the ferry system used by freedom seekers to cross the river to Canada. Located southeast of the Peace Bridge near Historic Fort Erie.
  • Dollhouse Museum (Bertie Hall) was a known safe house where smuggling operations were rumored to have taken place using an underground tunnel in the basement. 905-871-5833.
  • Little Africa Plaque at Niagara Parks Commission Marina (formerly Miller's Bay Marina). This site was originally the export point for lumber coming from "Little Africa," a settlement established in the 1840s.

Niagara Falls, ON

Queenston, ON

  • Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, known as the "Freedom Crossing", was used by Harriet Tubman en route from slavery in Maryland to her first home in Ontario in 1849. It became a major route for freedom seekers.
  • Colored Corps Historic Plaque is where the Canadian Black Militia formed at the start of the War of 1812. They assembled here and set the precedent for units established elsewhere in Canada.

Lockport, NY

  • Freedom Run Winery is located on the spur that goes to Murphy Orchards. Freedom Run Winery is owned by the Manning family and celebrates and supports Freedom for all. Their mission is to give back what the land has gracefully given them by producing premium wines and champagne in order to dedicate service to the community and to others.

Newfane, NY

  • Murphy Orchards is on a spur route near Newfane, NY. This privately owned farm was part of the Underground Railroad from 1850-1861. The farmhouse, barn, orchards, and landscape remain as they did 150 years ago, complete with a viewable hiding place in the barn.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

  • Negro Burial Ground Historic Plaque was previously the Calvinistic Baptist Church. John Oakley, a former British soldier, became pastor to the mostly Black congregation.

St. Catharines, ON

  • In 1793, the "Upper Canada Act Against Slavery" was passed, allowing Blacks aged 25 years and older freedom from slavery in Canada. This created a safe haven for African American runaway slaves and made Canada the destination for many who fled. As a result, hundreds of escaped slaves settled in St. Catharines and created a vibrant Black community
  • St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canal Centre, 1932 Welland Canal Pkwy. Experience the rich legacy of Niagara's African Canadians in the integrated Follow the North Star exhibit.
  • Anthony Burns Grave Site & Victoria Lawn Cemetery. Historic marker honors Rev. Anthony Burns, the last person tried under the Fugitive Slave Act in Massachusetts.
  • Richard Pierpoint Historic Marker in Centennial Park honors Pierpoint's years of military service to the Crown.
  • The BME Church (Salem Chapel) — Many freedom seekers attended church and meetings at this Church, including Harriet Tubman. The Salem Chapel, British Methodist Episcopal Church was the first Black church in St. Catharines. Originally known as the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the name was changed to reflect their loyalty to the British Empire. Contact Ada Summers 905-984-6769 for more information.

Collingwood, ON

  • Sheffield's Black Cultural Museum, Long Point Rd. View slave artifacts and learn the history of early Black pioneers who settled this region. The museum is just off route 2 miles west of Collingwood.

Owen Sound, ON

  • Owen Sound developed and grew as freedom seekers settled in the area.  Learn more about the freedom seekers who began arriving around 1830 from the Owen Sound Black History website. The City of Owen Sound was first named Sydenham and officially changed the name to Owen Sound in 1857.
  • BME Church served the needs of former slaves arriving on the Underground Railroad and are considered the founders of the Annual Emancipation Festival that takes place the first weekend of August since 1862.
  • Grey Roots Museum & Archives provides a living link for the legacies of the past, artifacts, and stories. See the exhibit From Slavery to Freedom, African Canadians in Grey County.
  • Black History Cairn at Harrison Park. In 2004, this commemorative Cairn, (Cairn defined as "a rounded heap of stones") was unveiled as a memorial to Owen Sound's Black settlers.