Take a guided tour of the the newly restored home of Rev. John Rankin, located on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River, and learn how the Rankin family and their neighbors in Ripley and other nearby communities helped the enslaved on their path to freedom via the Underground Railroad.
At this National Historic Landmark, you can step inside one of the best-documented and most active Underground Railroad “stations” in Ohio and get the story of Ohio’s role in the abolitionist movement that set the stage for the end of slavery as well as the modern Civil Rights movement. Average visit time: Allow 1+ hours
The historic town of Ripley is part of the Ohio River Scenic Byway and has a 55-acre historic district that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Walk Front Street and enjoy the sites and sounds of river life. Take in the historic riverside homes or try one of the great local restaurants.
John Rankin wasn’t the only famous abolitionist in Ripley. You can also visit the John P. Parker House, home of an African American inventor and active conductor on the Underground Railroad who helped hundreds make their way to freedom.
Built in 1825, the Rankin House was home to abolitionist and Presbyterian minister John Rankin, his wife Jean, and their 13 children. It’s estimated that over 2,000 slaves seeking freedom stayed with the Rankins, sometimes as many as 12 at a time. Though slavery was illegal in Ohio, slaves could still be apprehended due to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. In order to avoid danger, they had to leave the United States.