(reproduced from The Underground Railroad Free Press, volume 1, issue 3, November 2006)
In the nick of time, a group of preservationists in upstate New York has stepped in to prevent demolition of a former Quaker Meetinghouse used as an Underground Railroad safe-house. The Farmington, New York meeting house was on its last legs when the group led by local Underground Railroad historian Judith Wellman organized in early 2006 and got to work.
Within six months, fundraising began, the old building was saved from what had been an imminent razing, and it was structurally stabilized and listed on a national Underground Railroad site list. Plans are to restore the building to its original appearance and donate to an organization which will preserve and operate it as an Underground Railroad interpretive center.
Farmington and towns near it in this part of New York are as rich as anywhere in the nation in the history of the Underground Railroad and abolitionism. The area also spawned the women's rights movement. Farmington, a village of about 100, is forty miles from the Harriet Tubman home in Auburn, New York.
Restoration of the Farmington Meeting House has been aided financially by the Heritage New York Women's History Trail, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the New York State Arts Council and the Quaker Church.