The nearly 200 year old brick floor of Gerrit Smith’s land office may look like an ordinary brick floor – but the people who walked on this floor made history. Harriett Tubman, Frederick Douglas, William Lloyd Garrison, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton all once walked on this floor.
The Gerrit Smith Estate is located in Peterboro, New York.
Radical reformer Gerrit Smith earned millions of dollars selling land in New York and other states. A staunch abolitionist, he used his money to help bankroll both the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements. His mansion was a stop on the underground railroad and a refuge for abolitionists.
The mansion was built in 1806 and burned to the ground in 1936. But the land office, with its historically famous floor, is intact.
Nearby is the National Abolition Hall of Fame. The museum pays tribute to the abolitionists who fought so hard for African Americans to end slavery and honors the legacy of that struggle.
The National Abolitionist Hall of Fame and Museum was founded in 2004 in Peterboro, New York. Peterboro was the logical choice for two reasons: Gerrit Smith’s home was nearby, and the inaugural meeting of the New York State Anti-Slavery Society reconvened here in October 22, 1835.
Peterboro had a reputation as a safe haven for abolitionists. Henry Highland Garnet, one of the famous African-American abolitionists, said that “there are yet two places where the slave holder dare not go, heaven and Peterboro.”
For more information:
Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark
National Abolitiion Hall of Fame