By Annette Gallagher Weisman
Town & Country – November 2004

The United Nations declared 2004 a year to commemorate the struggle against slavery, and its abolition. In August, as if on cue, the NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER opened in Cincinnati.


National Underground Railroad Freedom Center/slave pen

Symbolically located on the northern bank of the Ohio River, to which slaves once fled for safety, the new $110 million center is an impressive sight. Its copper-paneled and travertine facade shines like a beacon between the Great American Ball Park and the Paul Brown Stadium. The dramatically designed 158,000-square-foot building houses three pavilions and a grand central staircase overlooking the center’s defining artifact: a two-story slave pen (above) salvaged from a farm just outside Maysville, Kentucky.

The Freedom Center is aptly named, for it’s more than a museum, says its founder, Chip Harrod: “It’s a learning center whose high-tech, interactive displays allow visitors to witness ongoing struggles for freedom worldwide.” Harrod hopes the center will serve as “an important venue for the advancement of justice for all.” 50 East Freedom Way; 877-648-4838;