Lancaster in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Deep roots in Philadelphia & Columbia line
Entrepreneurs, philanthropists & Underground Railroad agents
This former right of way of the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad was a critical link in the national anti-slavery movement that by the 1840's became known as "the underground ralroad, a secret passage to freedom. P&CRR was only the second rallroad in the U.S. Businesses built their own cars and paid fees to couple with state-owned steam engines. These privately-owned passenger and freight cars moved through the City of Lancaster on this corridor by 1834, William Whipper (1804-1876) and Stephen Smith (1796-1873) were prosperous lumber merchants in Columbia, Lancaster County. By 1838, with assistance from Underground Ralroad activist William Wright of Columbia, they modified box cars with a false wall inside at one end. Freedom seekers were concealed behind the partition and reached Philadelphia in about eight hours. By 1840, Black businessman William C. Goodridge of York, PA also used this ingenious secret transport system over the next 20 years in his rail cars in league with Smith and Whipper. Their work was not
Produced with a grant from the African American Historical Society of South Central Pennsylvania and personal contributions from Soclety members; Leroy T. Hopkins, Jr, and Cynthia Renee Lavender, in cooperation with the City of Lancaster. Illustration by Michael Abel, courtesy of Amish Village at Plain & Fancy Farm, Bird-in-Hand, PA. Photographs: Willam Whipper from The Underground Railroad by William Still, 1872; Stephen Smith, from the Charles Blackson Afro American Collection at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Research & design: Randolph Harris, consulting historian, Lancaster, PA, November, 2016.
Following the North Star, the symbol of the National Underground Raltroad Network to Freedom. In 2010 this historic right of way of the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad between Lancaster and Philadelphia was recognized as an authentic site associated with the Underground Railroad Movement.
Erected by African American Historical Society of South Central Pennsylvania.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is November 2016.
Location. 40° 2.805′ N, 76° 18.765′ W. Marker is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker can be reached from Harrisburg Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Marker is near north end of rail trail (on its east side), and cannot be seen from Harrisburg Avenue, because it is behind the Lancaster Arts Hotel, which is at 300 Harrisburg Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 300 Harrisburg Avenue, Lancaster PA 17603, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Working The Line (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); 140 Years of Lancaster Baseball (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lancaster Rotary Park: 100 years of Rotary International (approx. 0.2 miles away); B. F. Good / P. Lorillard Tobacco Warehouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad, 1834 (approx. Ό mile away); Franklin & Marshall College (approx. 0.3 miles away); Klauder-Apple Walk (approx. 0.4 miles away); Franklin & Marshall College September 11 Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lancaster.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 20, 2021, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. This page has been viewed 114 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 20, 2021, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.