In a remarkable feat of preservation, Longwood Gardens has successfully relocated the Cox House, a historic landmark deeply intertwined with the story of the Underground Railroad. The decision to move the house 100 feet from its original location was prompted by a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation project to widen Route 1, reflecting Longwood Gardens' commitment to safeguarding the region's rich historical heritage. 

The process of moving the Cox House involved extensive preparations, beginning with the construction of a foundation mirroring the original in size and configuration. With care, the house was delicately raised from its foundation and placed on temporary rails before being transported to the new designated location. Steel cables, temporary walls, and strategic bracing were employed to ensure the structural integrity of the house throughout the relocation, which unfolded on Wednesday, February 28. 

Named after John and Hannah Cox, the Cox House stands as a testament to the courage and resilience of Quaker farmers and social justice reformers. For over half a century, from 1829 to 1880, the Cox family opened their home as a sanctuary for those fleeing slavery, risking their lives and livelihoods to provide refuge and assistance to freedom seekers along the Underground Railroad. 

Cox House
photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens - Richard Donham

While the Cox House has been moved to a different location, there are currently no immediate plans to open it to the public. However, its significance as a symbol of resistance and compassion in the face of oppression remains undiminished. 

As we commemorate this milestone in preservation, we invite you to reflect on the enduring legacy of the Underground Railroad and the profound impact of individuals like the Cox family in shaping our collective history. Stay tuned for updates on future opportunities to engage with this important piece of our heritage. 

Explore more about Longwood Gardens and Delaware's connection to the Underground Railroad below. A wealth of cultural experiences are waiting to be discovered during your next visit to Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley. 

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