Freedom Trail Information

The Rochester area played a leading role in the Underground Railroad movement. Located close to the Canadian border, Rochester was one of the last stops before fugitive slaves reached freedom.

Frederick Douglass, himself an ex-slave, made Rochester his home for 25 years. His prominence as abolitionist, publisher and orator enhanced the area’s reputation as liberal and progressive. Douglass’ words complemented his actions: his home and his office were “stations” that harbored frightened, weary, freedom-seekers.

This few recently freed people in Rochester were active in the work of liberating those still in bondage. The Underground Railroad was also supported by the Liberty Party, Whigs, Democrats and Republicans and some people of numerous faiths and other prominent citizens. Moreover, less well-known people donated clothing, ran bazaars, hosted suppers, organized and attended lectures to raise money in support of the movement.