Dedication of new marker - Historic bridge & Underground Railroad pathway
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The public is invited to attend the dedication of a new illustrated outdoor historical marker on Saturday, September 12 at 3 PM in Christiana, PA, commemorating the last standing stone arch bridge from one of the earliest railroads to operate in the United States, a rail line that also was used to secretly transport formerly enslaved Africans as part of the Underground Railroad. The Lancaster Chapter, National Railway Historical Society is sponsoring this event on the property of the Charles Bond Company, the oldest continually operating manufacturing facility in Lancaster County. It is located at 11 Green Street, Christiana, PA 17509. ( www.zerchershotel.com ) Railroad historians note that the factory owes its early origin to the fact that its founders built their metal-working facilities next to the tracks of the ground-breaking, state-owned Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad, between 1828 and 1834. The bridge spans Pine Creek between Chester and Lancaster counties. It was part of the railroad line that began to be used in 1838 to regularly transport freedom seekers from Columbia to Philadelphia within secret compartments in freight cars privately owned by African American businessmen from Columbia. The Charles Bond Company office houses the Christiana Underground Railroad Center. It will be open as part of the dedication. The Center and the railroad right of way are designated as Sites in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a program of the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior.