Kids Creative Chaos: Homeschool History Lesson: Levi Coffin House and the Underground Railroad Indiana

Homeschool History Lesson: Levi Coffin House and the Underground Railroad Indiana

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Take a Field Trip: Tour the History of the Underground Railroad and Levi Coffin in Richmond, Indiana

Our latest history homeschool adventure included a field trip to the historic, Levi Coffin House near Richmond, Indiana. It is said to be part of the Underground Railroad.

An eight-room, Federal-style, brick home near Richmond in Newport (Fountain City), Indiana became a safe haven to thousands of escaped slaves on their journey to Canada. The home of Levi and Catharine Coffin, North Carolina Quakers who opposed slavery quickly became the most well-known stop on the Underground Railroad.  During the 20 years they lived in Newport, the Coffins helped more than 2,000 slaves reach safety. Read More About it: Levi Coffin House



Levi Coffin House Historic Site and Underground Railroad History Lesson
Levi Coffin House in Indiana. The Underground Railroad.


Take a Field Trip: Tour the History of the Underground Railroad and Levi Coffin in Richmond, Indiana
Learn about the Underground Railroad with a trip to Levi Coffin's Indiana home.

Harriet Tubman's famous story, Uncle Tom's Cabin is based on, "Eliza" one of the many slaves who hid in the Coffin home. Scholastic offers a great companion piece for an Underground Railroad Lesson. Myths of the Underground Railroad. A good story for younger children is Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky.



A story of the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman.
A story of the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman.


Nineteenth century wooden rocker cradle in the Levi Coffin house.
Nineteenth century wooden rocker cradle in the Levi Coffin house.
The tour guides at this historic site are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Prepare to spend at least an hour learning the Coffin family history. On our visit, we were not prepared expecting only a quick walk through the house. Our little one (pictured above) was not up to the challenge. However, rather than becoming irritated at her outbursts the tour guide began speaking directly to her and encouraging participation by pointing out kid friendly historic facts and interesting artifacts like the horse hair poking out of the wall which was used to reinforce and bind the plaster.
Levi Coffin.
Levi Coffin.


Two handled "shovel" for scooping grain.  A chore for children.
Two handled "shovel" for scooping grain.  A chore for children.
Sewing bird to help hold fabric.
Sewing bird to help hold fabric.
Rocking bench with baby guard.
Rocking bench with baby guard.

Iron handcuffs.
Iron handcuffs.


Stairs to the attic.
Stairs to the attic.
Stairs to the attic.
Catharine Coffin's Wardrobe.

Room where runaways (often children) spent the night.
Room where runaways (often children) spent the night.


Underground Railroad = Secret attic access slide bed over to hide the door.
Underground Railroad = Secret attic access slide bed over to hide the door.

Field Trip Ideas for the Underground Railroad

For older students, I encourage you to visit Conner Prairie's immersion history program, Follow the North Star in Indianapolis, Indiana. As an interpreter at Conner Prairie, I participated on both sides portraying a woman who helped runaways find their way to a nearby Quaker family and as a tour guide/runaway experiencing the journey first hand leading a group of runaways thru the prairie at night. Nothing will help your student understand the importance of this historical event like Follow the North Star.

Another great place to visit is The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.



Recommended Reading:


Reminiscences of Levi Coffin

Who Was Harriet Tubman?

Frederick Douglass for Kids: His Life and Times, with 21 Activities (For Kids series)

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