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Designation of Historical Marker to Commemorate Importance of Alum Creek to Underground Railroad

Anne Evans Anne Evans
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April 20, 2017 11:00 am @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Alum Creek Trail bridge on Ohio Dominican’s campus.
Tom Brockman

Representatives of the Columbus Recreation & Parks Dept., Friends of Freedom Society, Ohio Dominican University and the Dominican Sisters of Peace will gather to dedicate a historical marker commemorating the importance of Alum Creek and other Central Ohio tributaries as routes used by escaped slaves during the Underground Railroad.

The dedication ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 20, at the Alum Creek Trail bridge on Ohio Dominican’s campus. The public is invited to park at Ohio Dominican’s East Campus building at 2600 Airport Drive.

“Central Ohio’s waterways, such as Alum Creek, were a vital part of the Underground Railroad,” said Cathy Nelson, founder and president emeritus of the Friends of Freedom Society, a 19th-century historical research organization whose main focus is the Underground Railroad. “Historical markers such as this one are important reminders for those who use the Alum Creek Trail for pleasure, that runaway slaves used it to make daring escapes to freedom.”


Ohio Dominican President Peter Cimbolic, Ph.D., said the historical marker will be a meaningful addition to the tree-lined trail that runs through ODU’s campus.


“The completion of the bridge and bike trail in 2015 was a welcome addition for us, bringing thousands of cyclists, runners and walkers through our campus each year,” Dr. Cimbolic said. “Now our visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the historic impact of this beautiful waterway that helped lead so many escaped slaves to freedom.”


The Underground Railroad was the term used to describe a network of people who helped escaped slaves make their way to freedom in the northern states and Canada. The term gained currency in the 1830s as northern abolitionists became more vocal and southern suspicions of threats to their peculiar institution grew. The network of routes extended through 14 northern states and Canada, beyond the reach of fugitive-slave hunters. Those who most actively assisted slaves to escape by way of the “railroad” were members of the free black community – including former slaves such as Harriet Tubman – as well as northern abolitionists, philanthropists and church leaders like Quaker Thomas Garrett.

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