WHY IT MATTERS

The Mifflin House 2During the 1800s, a Quaker family known as the Mifflin family operated this large homestead as a stop on the Underground Railroad—a secret network of routes and safe houses that aided people escaping slavery. The Mifflin House was an important stop on the route because it was a safe location where people could cross the large Susquehanna River on their journey north. At times, the nearby bridge was under watch and unsafe to use. During these times, the Mifflin family worked with Robert Loney, a formally enslaved man, to ferry freedom seekers across the river in the cover of night. Robert Loney lived across the river in the city of Columbia, which had a large free black population. There were black and white abolitionists on both sides of the river who made this stop along the Underground Railroad possible. Over the years, the Mifflin House and property has remained in private ownership, but has retained much of its original character.

"Preservation Pennsylvania placed the Mifflin House on the 2017 Pennsylvania At Risk list, knowing that the efforts to save it would be difficult. Calling on our past partners, The Conservation Fund and Susquehanna National Heritage Area made all the difference. Now, what seemed impossible, is headed towards a great outcome and a wonderful new use for this beautiful historic property with its link to the Underground Railroad.  We are honored to be a part of this team." 

— Mindy Gulden Crawford, Executive Director, Preservation Pennsylvania  

 

our role

Not too long ago, the house was slated for demolition to make way for an industrial warehouse development, but the community rallied around this historic site, and The Conservation Fund worked closely with the developer and preservation partners to envision a different future for this site of national importance. We stepped in quickly to purchase the 80-acre property and are now actively fundraising to permanently protect the site. Once we transfer the land to our local partners, they plan to turn the Mifflin House into an interactive educational center, which will include a special event space, river-inspired art, exhibit galleries, historical tours and more.

"With over 80 acres of historic landscape linking the Mifflin house to the Susquehanna River, this project will preserve and share the powerful, important story of this historic gateway to freedom for Black Americans in the early 19th century. Conserving and re-purposing the Mifflin site as an historical park and visitor education center will showcase the nationally significant role this region and its people played in America’s enduring Quest for Freedom. This project exemplifies the value of visionary partners working together for the public good. The Conservation Fund, Preservation PA, and Susquehanna National Heritage Area applied their unique skills and relationships to conserve this significant site in Pennsylvania’s eastern York County."

— Mark N. Platts, President, Susquehanna National Heritage Area 


This house and property hold an unparalleled opportunity to continue uplifting the story of the Underground Railroad. Although it’s impossible to know exactly how many people passed through the Mifflin House on their way to freedom, it’s estimated that over 100,000 people escaped slavery using the Underground Railroad between 1810-1850. Now, the Mifflin House and its story will be a permanently protected treasure—one that will continue to help people recognize and reflect on our nation’s past.

Hear from Kathleen Anderson, a descendant of Robert Loney, about why the effort to protect this historic house and property are important to her and her family, as well as our nation.