Sandusky’s Underground Railroad History

You may be surprised to hear that the city of Sandusky was a major terminal of the Underground Railroad. The city’s poignant code name was “Hope”. Several spots in the city are tied to the Railroad – we’d like to list a few of them for you, since Sandusky is an easy 20 minute drive from Angel Welcome Bed & Breakfast.

At the Maritime Museum, you can see an extensive exhibit featuring the struggles of those who braved crossing Lake Erie to get to freedom. While there, explore the rest of the museum to get a sense of the importance of maritime history to the area.

Path to Freedom statue at Facer Park in Sandusky, Ohio

Susan Schultz, “Path to Freedom,” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture , accessed June 15, 2022, https://www.sculpturecenter.org/oosi/items/show/1322.

In Facer Park on Shoreline Drive, you’ll find the beautiful art piece named “Path to Freedom”. Made of curled wire by local artist Susan Schultz, it represents a man, woman and child, in desperate flight through Sandusky from the Southern US to Canada. As the man’s reaching arm, face and leg come into a place of freedom, they become solid. This statue is both solemn and exhilarating, celebrating the joy and sorrow. Surrounding the piece are displays explaining more of the history of the Underground Railroad in Sandusky.

Continue on to the Follet House Museum at 404 Wayne Street. The museum is between 12-4pm Thursday – Saturday. The museum was home to Oran and Eliza Follet. Eliza Follet was instrumental in physically hiding and helping enslaved people escape over the border to Canada. The museum also covers much more history of Sandusky.

A wonderful spot to walk by is The Second Baptist Church. The church was originally founded in 1849 as Zion Baptist Church by a group of seven former enslaved people and freeborn blacks. It was also known, as the First Regular Anti-Slavery Baptist Church. Along with church services, it was a station on the Underground Railroad in Sandusky, with many escaped slaves being hidden, fed, and clothed. The present-day church is constructed around the original church’s wooden framework, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Erie County Historical Society offers a walking/driving tour on their website, complete with helpful maps, which covers many more stops and information than we have mentioned today – you may find it helpful to learn more about the Underground Railroad’s history in Sandusky!

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