Community, Local, Organizations, Park Forest

‘Hike the Freedom Trail’ — Tour the Local Underground Railroad

Little-known historical tales of Freedom Seekers’ journey through the Calumet Region

Tour participants Hike the Freedom Trail
Participants “Hike the Freedom Trail” during a recent tour experience. (Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project on Facebook)

Beaubien Woods Forest Preserve-(ENEWSPF)- Reservations are now being taken for the next “HIKE THE FREEDOM TRAIL” TOUR scheduled for Saturday, November 19, 2022, from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM. This will be the last tour of the year.

Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project experts ask that you join them when they “Hike the Freedom Trail.” You will learn the fascinating and historically accurate story of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of those who escaped enslavement. Called “Freedom Seekers,” these free people traveled the Underground Railroad (UGRR) through the south Chicago region seeking freedom in the north before the United States Civil War.

These free people often found refuge and replenishment with local abolitionists such as the Jan Ton family, that owned a farm near Beaubien Woods Forest Preserve on the Little Calumet River.

Dr. Larry McClellan
Dr. Larry McClellan (GSU)

Leading this educational outing on the history of the UGRR in the Calumet region is Professor Larry McClellan, the foremost authority on the Underground Railroad in Northern Illinois, and Tom Shepherd of the Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project. The program is co-sponsored by the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

The tour will depart from the Beaubien Woods boat launch and will last approximately 2 hours, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The boat launch is located at approximately 134th Street and the Little Calumet Riverfront.

The tour will be partly by bus and partly by a hike requiring moderate walking. Please dress appropriately for the weather.

Pre-registration for this free event is required as seating is limited. To reserve a spot, contact Tom Shepherd at 773-370-3305 or [email protected].