A few days ago, USA Today posted an article about hidden gems to visit in each of the 50 states. The John Rankin House, a once very active Underground Railroad station was chosen as Ohio’s “hidden gem.” The home, located in Ripley, Ohio sits on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River. It was built in 1825 and belonged to abolitionist John Rankin, his wife Jean and their thirteen children. The family risked their lives to help free more than 2,000 escaped slaves.
This National Historic Landmark is one of the best-documented Underground Railroad stations. You can take a guided tour of the home and learn how the Rankin family, their neighbors and other nearby communities helped fugitives escape from slavery. During the tour you also learn about Ohio’s role in the abolitionist movement and how it set the stage for the end of slavery as well as the Civil Rights movement.
While visiting the Rankin House you can also enjoy the historic town of Ripley. You can walk Front Street and enjoy the sites and sounds of the Ohio River Scenic Byway. There are beautiful historic homes to see and great local restaurants to enjoy.
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