Underground Railroad

showcaves.com does not list Underground Railroad sites. There are almost no underground Underground Railroad sites, the Underground Railroad is underground only in a cultural sense.

We feel we must explain the Underground Railroad for visitors from outside the U.S.A. It is a term used for a secret (underground) operation which started during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), also known as the American War of Independence. It continued until the Civil War, and finally ended with the official abolition of slavery in 1865 in the form of three amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Before slavery was generally legal, but was done only in the southern states, where slaves were needed for the heavy farm work under hot and humid conditions. Many people were disgusted by this demeanor and fought against slavery, they were called abolitionists, because they wanted to abolish slavery. People from the southern side of the border were helping slaves to escape and travel north, helped them across the border, and people from the north helped them find a living.

Because of the irritating name, especially for non-Americans, we thought it was necessary to make this page and make clear why this category of tourist sites is not underground in our sense. Most of the sites are in the southern states, along the long gone border. They consist of museums, hidden rooms, clandestine routes, transportation, meeting points, safe houses and barns, and so forth. All those sites are above ground.

But there is a sort of Urban Legend about Underground Railroad tunnels, which were dug to allow the save and unseen travel of escaped slaves and abolitionists. They exist all over the area, and they seem to be very long-lived. It is even repeated in school lessons. As a matter of fact we could only find a single underground tunnel. And with us all historians agree, that there were generally no tunnels, as the amount of work necessary to dig them was far too high.