Delaware's Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad, a network of sites and volunteers that helped enslaved people make their way north, is perhaps the most dramatic protest action against slavery in United States history. In Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway lets you retrace the steps that once led to freedom.

Begin your journey at Wilmington’s Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, where a striking statue commemorates legendary Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman and Quaker abolitionist Thomas Garrett, who lived nearby at 227 Shipley Street. The Market Street Bridge, which runs adjacent to the park, marks the site of an earlier bridge used by Harriet Tubman and freedom seekers to reach Underground Railroad operatives like Garrett in Wilmington.

In this Itinerary

Then, head downtown to trace the history of slavery and the Underground Railroad at the Delaware History Museum and its affiliated Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage. Stop for lunch at Black-owned Breakfast at Blume, which — the name notwithstanding — serves its refined New American cuisine all day.

After lunch, head south to Historic New Castle, whose New Castle Court House Museum was the site of many significant events connected to the Underground Railroad, including the trials of Thomas Garrett and fellow abolitionist John Hunn for violations of the Fugitive Slave Acts. For dinner, stop at Nora Lees French Quarter Bistro, which brings the flavors of New Orleans to New Castle.

More to Explore

Breakfast at Blume

  • 4304 North Market St.

Experience the sophistication and charm of a classic landmark Post House in North Wilmington, Delaware. Offering up a unique mix of stylish, airy bar and restaurant, we…

If you have more time, stop in Historic Odessa, whose Corbit-Sharp House was the home of a noted Underground Railroad sympathizer and provided refuge to at least one escaping enslaved person. Or venture south to Dover, where sites such as the State House and the John Dickinson Plantation provide further insight into Delaware’s role in the Underground Railroad.

For a comprehensive list of sites associated with the Underground Railroad, in Delaware and elsewhere, consult the interactive map on the National Park Service’s website.

Explore Wilmington's Underground Railroad Locations


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