People and Places: Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum

People and Places

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) It’s all aboard for history in downtown Washington.

“Well that’s what makes it unique because we do kind of play off the Underground Railroad,” said Leesa P. Jones.

The old caboose is home to the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum.

But in Washington in the mid-19th century, it wasn’t typically a train slaves hopped on to find freedom.

It was the river that provided an escape route to a new life.

“In researching all of the history of the Washington Waterfront we found that many freedom seekers, documented wise, left the waterfront getting to their freedom,” said Jones.

And now, just feet away from the waterfront, sits this unique museum, rich in local history. History the museum’s creator discovered almost by accident.

After that, Leesa and her husband began a walking tour around Washington, spreading the true meaning of the underground railroad.

And in 2016 they opened the museum inside the restored caboose.

Leesa said she’s seen visitors from all 50 states. Some getting emotional over what they see here.

The documented information here makes the museum an official National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site.

That means a lot to Leesa. But it’s knowing that the visitors learn while they’re here which means even more.

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