NCUGRHA Accomplishments

2012

Opened the 2012 Museum season with speakers detailing abolitionist efforts across Lake Champlain in Vermont and in the St. Lawrence region of the Adirondacks.

Experienced at least a 25% increase in museum visitors, as more than 5,000 came to learn about the Underground Railroad in our second year.

Sponsored special programs on "Women's Activism in the Antebellum and Emancipation Era," on W.E.B. Du Bois, and on slavery in New York State. In addition, we hosted a special program on the difference between romantic visions of the Adirondack wilderness and the reality faced by real people, including blacks and Native Americans.

Hosted the First Annual Freedom Festival of Music, at the Ausable Chasm Pavilion, with talented local musical performers Roy Hurd, Lita Kelley, Towne Meeting and Charlie Stone & Split Rock.

Awarded entry into the coveted National Underground Railroad Network of Freedom by the National Park Service, in recognition of our "significant contribution to the understanding of the Underground Railroad in American history."

Offered mini-tours of Peru and Keeseville Underground Railroad sites most Saturday mornings during the May to October museum season.

Celebrated the contributions of Vivian and Don Papson, who collaborated in founding the Association and Museum. Don was named winner of the 2012 Underground Railroad Free Press Prize.

Celebrated the incoming presidency of Jackie Madison who became the 2nd President of the North Country Underground Railroad Association in October. Founding President Don Papson stepped down to devote time to researching and writing his upcoming book on key Underground Railroad figures in New York.

2011

World premiere of Melissa Waddy-Thibodeaux's "Story of Lavinia Bell" at SUNY Plattsburgh and in Montreal, Canada, for the NCC/Charles H. Este Community Center. (The Lavinia Bell Story is also an exhibit at the North Star Underground Railroad Museum.)

Dedication of a Wayside panel recognizing the old Rouses Point Steamboat Landing as one of the most significant stops on the Underground Railroad in the Champlain Valley.

Grand Opening of the North Star Underground Railroad Museum and the Town of Chesterfield Heritage Center. The museum went on to host more than 4,000 people in our first year. Tourists came from as far away as Australia and Japan, and school children came from down the highway.

Together with the Town of Chesterfield, the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association won a Lakes to Locks Passage special partnership award. The regional tourism organization recognized the unique cooperation between Town Supervisor Jerry Morrow and the Association that created the Town Heritage Center and the Museum on the Ausable Chasm grounds.

Hosted a dozen mini-tours of abolition and Underground Railroad sites in the Peru and Keeseville areas during the May–October museum season.

Sponsored special programs on Abraham Lincoln's gradual move toward the Emancipation Proclamation, the enduring legacy of Harriet Tubman, the Freedom Odyssey of Ingeborg Sapp, Ghana, West Africa and the Slave Trade and Solomon Northup: Son of the North Country.

2010

Initial stabilization work completed on the former Stephen Keese Smith barn in Peru, New York. It contains a hidden room where it is believed fugitives from slavery were hidden.

Initial archaeological dig at the former Stephen Keese Smith farm by Andy Black who supervised SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Potsdam students.

Construction work began on the Estes House at Ausable Chasm to transform it into the Town of Chesterfield Heritage Center and North Star Underground Railroad.

2009

Work began on renovations of the Estes House and its transformation into the Town of Chesterfield Heritage Center and North Star Underground Railroad Museum.

The National Park Service officially recognized the site of Rouses Point, New York’s former pier with its steamboat landing and railroad terminal as part of its Freedom to Freedom program.

2008

"And Some Were Women": A celebration of the contribution of women to the antislavery movement.

2007

Canal Splash! Rides on the Weatherwax ferry boat with stories and songs of the Champlain Line of the Underground Railroad.

2006

"One Story at a Time" photo exhibit of safe houses in six counties of northeastern New York by Laura Sells Doyle accompanied by stories.

2005

"Northward to Freedom" DVD, an introduction to the Champlain Line of the Underground Railroad