The Lathrop House is a nineteenth-century building in Sylvania, OH with purported connections to the Underground Railroad, and a considerable body of historical evidence links the site to the larger effort of transferring slaves from bondage to freedom. It was recently shorn from its foundation and moved to a new location in Sylvania’s Harroun Park.
There is substantial evidence that the site may indeed be worthy of its rumored status as a Railroad station. A wide variety of documents from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries make mention of the site and its oral history. In addition, one of the early owners, Reverend Lucian Lathrop, was a politically active, avowedly anti-slavery citizen; among other doings, he attended the Free Democratic Party convention in 1849, which adopted a platform stating “slavery to be a moral, social and political evil."
I have a lengthier essay on the history of the Lathrop House here.
The Metropark system now owns the building, but it appears that little activity has taken place since the building was relocated. The Metroparks website says that "through a partnership with the City of Sylvania, Metroparks has agreed to restore the home and provide future public programming."
At the moment it does not appear that much activity has occurred in the 18 months since the building was moved from its original site. Protective fencing around the house has been torn down.
In the meantime, the building suffers the fate of any vacant structure; windows are broken by vandals, wind, rain, and snow take their toll on the exterior, and small animals begin to make the building their new home.
The contributions of the Lathrop family to the abolition movement and to the Underground Railroad have a longstanding oral tradition, and numerous family documents attest to Reverend Lucian Lathrop’s role as a conductor. I trust that Metroparks administrators are keeping this important piece of local history - as well as that of the Undergound Railroad - on their collective frontburner.