Harriet Tubman National Historical Park

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Western NY Parks

In September, I set out with a road trip buddy to visit some park units in upstate New York. For me, the highlight of this trip was visiting my 100th National Park Service unit. That puts me at Bronze status in the National Parks Traveler’s Club. The second stop on our journey was Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park focuses on the later years of Tubman’s life. Known as “The Moses of her people”, Tubman conducted 70 enslaved people to freedom in the North via the Underground Railroad. The park includes Harriet Tubman’s home, the Home for the Aged and the AME Zion Church in Auburn. The National Park Service administers the church and The Harriet Tubman Home, Inc oversees the residences. In order to tour the home site, you must make an advance reservation.

A local docent who has interpreted the site for 30 years led our tour. We parked down the street at the NY State Equal Rights Center. After perusing the displays there, we walked through the town, which was decked out for Harriet’s 200thh birthday.

Harriet Tubman Home

In 1859, after spending eight years in Canada, Tubman moved with her parents to Auburn, New York. She bought a house on South Street from William H. Seward. She and Seward knew each other from their work on the Underground Railroad.

Central New York was a center for progressive thought, abolition, and women’s suffrage. Harriet continued her work there for human rights for over 50 years.

When the 25 acres next door came up for auction in 1896, Tubman bid on it. She used it to create an old-age home for formerly enslaved people who had nowhere else to go. In 1903, no longer able to pay for it, she donated it to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The church agreed to continue operating the nursing home.

Tubman continued to care for the residents there until 1911, when she herself became a patient. People from all walks of life mourned her passing in 1913. The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park is a newer park and is still a work in progress, but the docent’s tour is a lovely tribute to her legacy.

Western NY Road Trip

  • Fillmore Glen State Park
  • Harriet Tubman National Historical Park
  • Seward House
  • Women’s Rights National Historical Park
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton Home
  • Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
  • Niagara Falls: Terrapin
  • Niagara Falls: Maid of the Mist
  • Niagara Falls: Observation Tower
  • Niagara Falls: Luna
  • Niagara Falls: Trolley
  • Niagara Falls: Gorge
  • Corning Museum of Glass

Location: 180 South St, Auburn, NY
Designation: National Historical Park
Date designated/established: January 10, 2017
Date of my visit: September 24, 2022

An excellent park visit for number 100 for the Bronze!

18 thoughts on “Harriet Tubman National Historical Park

  1. Your 100th National Park milestone and this tribute to one of heroes of the anti-slavery movement reminds us that 150 years after the Civil War this country is still fighting to make black people completely free and equal. Thank you for a timely reminder that the document on which this country was founded makes equality of all people a goal we have not yet attained (but still strive for). Stewart Ketcham

    1. Thanks, Stewart! A true and sobering thought. If more people visit sites like these, it would go a long way. The man who gave the tour and walked us around the site is a 70 year old black man who quit his professional career 30 years ago to dedicate his life to teaching people about Ms. Harriet. There were about 20 other people on the tour with us from all walks of life and he had everyone’s complete attention. We need more sites like these and docents like him.

    1. Thanks! Yes, the quilt is a real work of art! It’s in the Equal Rights Center down the street from the park site. The whole town was celebrating the 250th anniversary of Tubman’s birth last year

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