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Cape Cod Inns On The Underground Railroad

Today is Juneteenth, "the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States." In honor of the holiday, here are four Cape Cod inns, all believed to have been part of the Underground Railroad. Since the network of secret routes and safe houses used prior to the Civil War by those escaping slavery with the aid of abolitionists was illegal, "connections to the Underground Railroad are largely undocumented on the Cape and islands," as is the case in most areas. Regardless, historians agree there is strong evidence that the Underground Railroad operated on the Cape and Islands.

· A Little Inn on Pleasant Bay in Orleans dates to 1798. A trap door in the inn's foyer leads to a small stone cellar thought to be an Underground Railroad hiding place.

· Ashley Manor in Barnstable dates to 1699. African-Americans escaping slavery used a secret passage connecting the upstairs and downstairs of the inn. The ladder that was used in the secret passage can still be found in the King George Suite.

· The Old Yarmouth Inn, located in Yarmouthport, was established in 1696, making it the oldest inn on the Cape. A hidden door in the attic is thought to have been used as part of the Underground Railroad.

· The Tern Inn and Cottages in West Harwich are over 150 years old. Located under the inn's living room rug (listen for the creak) is a small trap door leading to a round cellar space. The area was used to hide runaway slaves awaiting ships to Canada.


· Ties to Freedom [Cape Cod Times]

· Inns with ties to the Underground Railroad [Examiner]