Tours & Events


 

 

Returning Soon!  KURC Bus Tours will be held the 3rd Sundays of May, June, July, August and September 2017.

 

Participants on a recent KURC Bus Tour step off the air-conditioned bus to visit a local site and listen to the tour guide.

Participants on a KURC Bus Tour step off the air-conditioned bus to visit a local site and listen to the tour guide.

Kennett Underground Railroad hosts public bus tours during the late spring and summer season.  Packets for self-guided tours are always available at the Brandywine Valley Conference & Tourist Center, and private tours may be arranged year-round, upon request.  See full tour details below or call 484-544-5070 for more information.  

TOUR DETAILS

View select Underground Railroad sites, historic homes and Quaker Meetinghouses while learning about local abolitionists and activity that went on in the Kennett Square area.  For more information, contact the Kennett Underground Railroad Center at 484-544-5070 or email: info@kennettundergroundrr.org

 

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1.) GUIDED BUS TOURS

Public tours are available in late Spring and Summer, led by a qualified volunteer guide.    Payment is $20. for adults, $15. for children.

2.) SELF-GUIDED TOURS

Follow the same route as the public bus tours, using a written packet obtained through the Brandywine Valley Conference & Tourist Center at 300 Greenwood Rd, Kennett Square PA   19348.  A $10 contribution to KURC is requested for each packet.

3.) PRIVATE GUIDED TOURS

We can arrange for a bus, you may drive your own car or arrange for your own bus (one seat will be necessary for the guide).  Plans for a private tour may made at any time during the year depending on the availability of the guide. Arrangements for private tours should be made a minimum of 2 weeks in advance.   $150 is requested for a private tour using your own bus.  A $25 per person contribution to KURC is requested when using the KURC bus.    A 10% discount is offered to Chester County Historical Society members.

Check payments for the tour should be made to Kennett Underground Railroad Center (KURC). We currently are unable to take credit cards.  Mail payments, including your email address and phone number, to 296 Kendal Dr., Kennett Square, PA 19348.  Payment MUST be received several days BEFORE the tour.  Tours will occur rain or shine. The bus is air conditioned.   Buses can accommodate 19-23 people, with a minimum of 14 registrations needed to cover the cost of the bus.  All those who have signed-up will be contacted several days in advance if the tour is cancelled and payments will be refunded. (There’s been no need to cancel so far!)

Former site of the Longwood Progressive Meeting where currently a display highlighting the history of the abolitionist movement in the region may be viewed. Activist Frederick Douglass spoke there, as did poet John Greenleaf Whittier and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.

Unless other arrangements are made, all tours will originate from the Brandywine Valley Conference and Visitors Center at 300 Greenwood Road, Kennett Square.  Built in 1855, this former Quaker Meetinghouse is on the Registry of Historic Places.  Located at the gates of Longwood Gardens, the Brandywine Valley Tourism Information Center occupies the front of this historic building and houses a storyboard of the building’s history. Guests are welcomed daily from 9am to 5pm. Brochures, menus, maps and personal service are provided by friendly, knowledgeable staff. A display highlighting the history of the local abolitionist movement may be viewed.  Note that allocated parking spots are in the first row to the right of the building.

 

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The KURC guided bus tour will cover some of the history of the development of the Underground Railroad (URR), particularly as it relates to Chester County.

The tour will include:
– passing by 5-6 original abolitionist homes, with research-based descriptions of the people living in this important hub of the URR during the 1800’s;

– a visit to the first street in Kennett Square and the integrated residents of that time, as well as the descendants of abolitionists that still live in the community;

– a tour of an 1801 Quaker Meetinghouse, with information about the local Quakers of that era and why many were so committed to abolitionism;

– a stop at the future Kennett Underground Railroad Center, located in the original home of abolitionists Eusebius and Sarah Barnard;

NB: Information about the Underground Railroad from early times have focused largely on the white people who aided fugitives. Now acknowledged is the significant contribution made by African Americans. This tour will include some of that history especially as it relates to Chester County, PA.

There are two books that we recommend that are excellent references for understanding the Underground Railroad in Chester County.

  • Smedley, R.C. History of the Underground Railroad in Chester and the Neighboring Counties of PA,(1883)*
  • Kashatus, William.  Just Over the Line: Chester County and the Underground Railroad.(2002).*

( You may purchase books on the internet or at the Chester County Historical Soc. in West Chester, PA)

PAST EVENTS

FREEDMEN, FUGITIVES and FRIENDS  –  Saturday, February 4th   2-4pm

In honor of Black History Month, the Kennett Underground Railroad Center presented a free tour in the historic town of Kennett Square, often referred to as “A Hotbed of Abolitionism”.   Guides will lead visitors through the Borough to see the houses and hear the stories of Kennett Square Quakers and African Americans who co-existed peacefully before and after the Civil War. Learn about their places of worship, employment and social activity.

 

 

KURC Symposium on May 21, 2016 at Lincoln University

     The symposium dealt with African American Communities in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and Neighboring Regions during the Era of Conflict and Resistance, 1800-1865, and Beyond. In the decades before and after the Civil War, the southern portions of Chester County and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, were home to the significant number of African Americans, including both free and self-emancipated. Directly adjacent to the slave states of Delaware and Maryland, this region included the African American communities of Hinsonville (now Lincoln University), the Christiana area, Timbuckto, and others.

Mary Dod Brown Memorial Chapel

         These symposiums are an opportunity to bring together researchers and writers to discuss and share research findings, research questions and puzzles, research methods and their effectiveness, and, potentially, to build collaborations.  Stay tuned for details about the Spring 2017 Symposium.