Safe house in the Underground Railroad to be torn down

Monday, January 17, 2005

Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Martin Luther King Day. The Waukesha Freeman, a newspaper with roots in the Abolitionist Movement before the American Civil War, announced that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has deemed a house at Highway 164 and Lisbon Road of no historical value, and has authorized its demolition sometime this spring.

A historian in the town of Sussex, Wisconsin, where the house is located, noted that residents had a verbal tradition that it was a location in the Underground Railroad, a route for slaves to Canada, before the American Civil War.

Sue Baker, of the Waukesha County Historical Society, which has a museum of county history in the old Court House, noted that Waukesha County had strong abolitionist leanings.

Ironically, Waukesha County, due to its high house prices, compared to Milwaukee County, has relatively few African-American residents, and statistically, the Milwaukee metropolitan area is one of the most segregated in the United States.