Niagara Falls in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
A Bridge to Freedom
“There was now but ‘one wide river to cross'...”
A Bridge to Freedom
"There was now but 'one wide river to cross'..."
In the 1800s, Western New York was one of the main ending points of the Underground Railroad. This "railroad" was a secret system of people and places that helped guide escaped slaves from the US South to Canada and to freedom.
One of the most famous "conductors" was Harriet Tubman, who often led slaves to freedom by crossing the Niagara River into Canada. She likely crossed over the Suspension Bridge that once stood where the Whirlpool Bridge is today.
This circa 1859 photograph shows the Suspension Bridge from the Americam side of the Niagara Gorge. The bridge was designed by John A. Roebling and built in 1855, supporting a railroad above and a walkway underneath. In 1897, a steel-arch bridge was built around the existing bridge. The Suspension Bridge was then dismantled, leaving the current Whirlpool Bridge you see today.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery around 1820 on a plantation in Maryland.
She escaped slavery in 1849, and settled in Philadelphia, PA. A year later, she began guiding other escaped slaves to safety.
After slavery was abolished in the United States, Tubman made her home in Auburn, NY. She died there in 1913.
Erected 2016 by New York Power Authority
Location. 43° 6.515′ N, 79° 3.366′ W. Marker is in Niagara Falls, New York, in Niagara County. Marker is at the intersection of Whirlpool Street and Ontario Avenue, on the right when traveling south on Whirlpool Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Niagara Falls NY 14305, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Great Gorge Railway Trail (here, next to this marker); To The River (a few steps from this marker); About the year 1600 B.C. ... (approx. ¼ mile away in Canada); The Buttery Elevators (approx. 0.6 kilometers away); The Inukshuk (approx. 0.7 kilometers away in Canada); Gad Pierce Tavern (approx. 0.8 kilometers away); The Carnegie Building (approx. 1.1 kilometers away); Park Place Historic District (approx. 1.4 kilometers away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Niagara Falls.
Also see . . . Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge - Wikipedia. (Submitted on March 14, 2016, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • Bridges & Viaducts •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 14, 2016, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 266 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 14, 2016, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.