Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad (HM40Z)

Location: Lemoyne, PA 17043 Dauphin County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 15.777', W 76° 52.861'

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Harrisburg's prominent role in the advance of the Union cause leading to the Civil War was particularly evident by its sympathy in harboring former slaves who had escaped servitude from the South. As early as 1836, the Harrisburg Anti-Slavery Society was founded. So influential was the group that it brought noted reformers William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas to hold a rally at the Dauphin County Courthouse in 1847. During this period, Harrisburg became a key station in the "Underground Railroad" which stretched from Maryland northward to Canada. While many secretly opened their doors to provide haven to escapees who under federal law could be reclaimed by their "owners," sections of the old Eighth Ward neighborhood, which once stood behind the Capitol Building, and homes on Tanners Avenue in particular, became later known as a nucleus of this activity. Located at the corner of Tanners Avenue and South Street, near the present southern entrance to the South Office building stood the church of Harrisburg's oldest African American congregation, the Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church. Founded in 1829 from an earlier organization dating to 1817, the congregation first met in a log building at S. Third and Mulberry Streets. Its presence at Tanners Avenue and South Street was first established in 1838 when a one-story brick building was constructed. This was replaced by a larger building in 1862 that was remodeled in 1886. The final church at this location was built in 1894, although demolished in 1915 for the expansion of Capitol Park. After two additional moves, Wesley Church survives today at Fifth and Camp Streets in Uptown Harrisburg and continues its tradition of community outreach and service.
Top Photo
Tanners Avenue looking north from Walnut Street circa 1912.
Bottom Photo
Tanners Avenue looking south toward Walnut Street circa 1912 with Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church at left.
HM NumberHM40Z
Series This marker is part of the Pennsylvania: The Harrisburg History Project series
Placed ByThe Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 8:33pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 340049 N 4458639
Decimal Degrees40.26295000, -76.88101667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 15.777', W 76° 52.861'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 15' 46.62" N, 76° 52' 51.66" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)717
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 407 Walnut St, Lemoyne PA 17043, US
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