Skip to main content
  1. Leisure
  2. Travel
  3. International Travel

The Levi Coffin House never lost a slave

See also

A short drive east from Indianapolis on the old National Road is the tiny town of Fountain City. The community is full of antique shops and is also the location of a Federal style brick structure that was once a stop on the famous Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was the route used by slaves escaping to Canada prior to the Civil War.

The Levi Coffin house was built in 1839 by Levi and Catherine Coffin, Quakers who came from North Carolina. They were instrumental in the successful movement of over 2000 slaves. Levi Coffin was sometime referred to as the President of the Underground Railroad.

Several routes for the slaves seeking freedom led to the Coffin house. Normally slaves moved north through Madison and Jeffersonville, Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio. The Coffin house was a logical direction to which the slaves would move.

Slaves would sometimes be hidden at the house for weeks at a time until they could be safely moved on north. A hidden room was in the attic space of the house. Beds could be moved so that headboards concealed the entrance to the stairway leading to the attic space.

The house has another interesting feature in the basement. There was a dug well inside. This was not a common practice of the day. However the well hidden in the basement enabled the drawing of enough water to supply the extra people in the house without raising the suspicion of an outside well.

Another interesting display at the house is a wagon used for hiding and transporting the slaves. Looking at this will really bring home what an escape plan entailed and the hardships the people had to endure.

The Coffin house was purchased in 1967 by the State of Indiana. The house was restored and then opened to the public in 1970. The site is a registered National Historic Landmark and is operated by the Levi Coffin House Association.

The house is open June 1 to August 31 Tuesday through Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. It is open only on Saturdays from September 1 to October 31. Admission is only $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for kids. Check the Wayne County website for more details including directions.

Advertisement

Leisure

  • Corned beef
    Find out how to prepare a classic corned beef recipe in a slow cooker
    Video
    Slow Cooker Tips
  • Left handed eating
    Find out why you should never eat with your left hand
    Video
    Wives Tale
  • Subway message
    Subway customer finds 'Big Mama' written on her order
    Video
    Subway Message
  • Deviled eggs
    This is the only deviled egg recipe you’ll need this Easter
    Delicious Eggs
  • Natural solutions
    Natural beauty: All natural solutions to life's little beauty headaches
    Camera
    Natural Solutions
  • Chocolate souffle
    Love chocolate? Get tips on making the perfect chocolate souffle every time
    Video
    Recipe 101

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!