Friends of Freedom Tour
Muskingum County is filled with rich history, especially when it comes to the Underground Railroad. Our area has an inspiring story to tell about the numerous men and women of both races who lit candles, left food, clothes and money out on a table or ledge and hid runaway slaves in their barns, attics and secret corners, guiding them on to the next station.
Begin your tour of the area by stopping at the Zanesville- Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce to pick up your Step-On Guide who will accompany you for the day.
Listen to the history of the Underground Railroad in this area as your Step-On Guide takes you on a “drive-by” tour of several of the sites.
Enjoy a delicious lunch at Schultz Mansion, located in the Putnam Historic District. This 26-room mansion was built as a wedding gift from William D. Schultz to his bride, Ethel Granger Schultz. Then tour the Putnam Presbyterian Church where Frederick Douglass once spoke and William Beecher, brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe was the first pastor. Slaves were hid in the basement of the church until it was safe to go to the next station.
Travel down the street to the Stone Academy which was the site of abolitionist conventions. Although it was originally built in hopes that it would become the state capitol, Zanesville won out and the capitol was located at the site of the current county courthouse from 1810 to 1812. Under the stairwell at the Stone Academy is a small crawlspace where slaves were believed to have been hidden.
Now visit the Nelson T. Gant Homestead home of the former slave and entrepreneur Nelson T. Gant. After being freed in the will of his Virginia master, Gant moved to Zanesville and rose from poverty to become one of the wealthiest men in the country. He was an active member of the Underground Railroad.
Check into your Zanesville hotel and refresh before dinner.
Relax and listen to the talented voices of local gospel singers and savor a buffet or plated dinner at Bryan Place in downtown Zanesville. Formerly a YWCA, this building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before Exploring the Underground Railroad history in one of the neighboring counties. There is a rich history in all of the counties surrounding Muskingum County.
Depart for a safe trip home or travel back to Zanesville to stay for another evening.
If you are interested in extending your stay in the Zanesville area, there are many additional historic attractions to visit including:
- Dr. Increase Mathews House Museum
- John & Annie Glenn Historic Site
- Lorena Sternwheeler
- National Road-Zane Grey Museum
- Zanesville Museum of Art