This being the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, I figure I should note one of the treasures of the Albany, NY area: the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region. In case you are unaware, the Underground Railroad was the “effort–sometimes spontaneous, sometimes highly organized–to assist persons held in bondage in North America to escape from slavery.” See also information from the PBS site and History.com.
The UGRR History Project started when Mary Liz, an elementary school teacher was interested to see if there was any UGRR history in the Albany area. Most of the experts told her no. Yet she and her husband Paul , who works for a community loan fund, were dissatisfied with the answer, and kept digging for more.
Eventually, they found enough historically significant sites to give walking tours in Albany. The non-profit organization they helped form has held a well-regarded conference on the topic for a dozen years.
Most significantly, they discovered a residence of Stephen and Harriet Myers, “point people in Albany regarding the Underground Railroad in the 1850s, which their organization has helped rebuild. Here’s the Wikipedia page about the structure.
In October, Paul and Mary Liz Stewart bicycled 730 miles across New York State on the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Trail. They brought attention to the important role the Erie Canal played in the Underground Railroad movement and raised funds for Underground Railroad History Project.