Underground Railroad Memorial Park Ribbon Cutting to be Held in Glenwood (Glenwood, IL) — On September 18th, 2023 at 10:00AM, the Village of Glenwood Mayor, Ronald J. Gardiner, and the Underground Railroad Monument Committee will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Underground Railroad Memorial Park. This will take place at the northwest corner of East Main and Young streets, across from the Gabe’s Place Restaurant (9 East Main St.).
Glenwood was once one of the former stops for the Underground Railroad.
In 1847, an inn was one of the first buildings constructed in what was then called Hickory Bend. This building would later become Hottinger’s Garden and then the Fireside Chalet Restaurant. The Fireside Chalet, once located at 5 East Main Street in Glenwood, was a safe house/station on the road to freedom.
On June 28, 1864, both fugitive slave acts were repealed by Congress. Injustices as far back as 1619 gave way to equality and freedom.
Harriet Tubman, a major conductor of the Underground Railroad made some 30 trips to the south and rescued approximately 300 slaves without losing any of her passengers. Tubman lived for a while in the southern suburbs. Tubman’s historical significance doesn’t stop with her involvement in the Underground Railroad. She also was an important agent in the Union Army during the Civil War. She ran several undercover missions for the Union Army behind enemy lines, helping smuggle food, clothing and medical supplies to the North. Again, without losing a single life.
When Tubman and others traveled the Railroad, one of their frequent stops was the former Fireside Chalet in Glenwood. The former restaurant was a convenient and important stop for passengers because the train from the South ran behind the restaurant. Those who decided their freedom was worth risking their lives for would quickly move from the train to the back door of the Fireside Chalet, where they would then continue their quest for freedom. Glenwood joins its neighboring towns in the South Suburbs in honoring and recognizing those who displayed courage, wisdom, and determination in the movement of freedom. Freed Blacks and Whites worked together in aiding those enslaved to escape to areas where slavery was illegal.
The Underground Railroad with its stops and routes was made possible by abolitionists who were ordinary people. These agents were former slaves, farmers, business owners and ministers that supplied food, clothing, shelter, protection and service. Today, we recognize all those who kept the dream of hope alive.
Underground Railroad Memorial Park Ribbon Cutting to be Held in Glenwood