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New Underground Railroad Driving Tour Explores Western Pennsylvania Freedom Trail

By: Associated Press Article
Dated: Saturday, 02/10/2007

New Underground Railroad Driving Tour Explores Western Pennsylvania Freedom Trail
Harrisburg- "Western Pennsylvania Freedom Trail: A Driving Tour," is a new driving tour exploring the history of the Freedom Trail, a once heavily traveled stretch of the Underground Railroad that wound through western Pennsylvania from the 1790s through 1864.
Covering six counties, the tour focuses on land-marks, museums and personal stories, and guides visitors along the very same routes as freedom
seekers more than a century ago.
"Almost without exception, every community, county and region in Pennsylvania has a powerful story to tell," said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary of Tourism in the Department of Community and Economic Development. "This new driving tour does an excellent job pulling together those individual stories in the western part of the state, and preserving for today's visitors what was a critical time in our nation's history."
The new tour is a joint project of The Crawford County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Erie Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Lawrence County Tourist Promotion Agency, Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism, and the Warren County Visitors Bureau. The Pennsylvania Tourism Office funded it, and is one of several projects focused on the commonwealth's role in the Underground Railroad.
"The tour brochure details landmarks, at-tractions and events that focus on both freedom seekers and abolitionists because the story of the Underground Railroad is more complex than enslaved Africans escaping," said Juanita Hampton, executive director of the Crawford County Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It is also the stories of people who wrote articles, gave speeches and risked their lives to secure freedom."
Sites covered range from historic African Methodist Episcopal (AME) churches, such as Bethel AME Church in Venango County and St. James AME Church in Erie, to the home of noted abolitionist John Brown in Crawford County. Other landmarks include the Little Africa settlement in Warren County, the Freedom Road cemetery in Mercer County and the Freedom Call's exhibit in Lawrence County.
Copies of "Western Pennsylvania Freedom Trail: A Driving Tour" are available by calling (800)-332-2338 or online at
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to fulfilling the needs and aspirations of travelers by presenting them with the information and resources they need to plan and enjoy the activities, attractions and destinations that are uniquely Pennsylvania. For more information, go to, or call (800) VISIT PA.

Tuesday, 02/20/2007
Volume No.: 21
Issue: 5