Underground Chautauqua: Three Freedom Trails

Thursday, November 10, 2022 | 7:00PM

Using an interactive County map, this program will provide an animated tour of the networks of the Underground Railroad in Chautauqua County.


In this new documentary film premiering at the Opera House, travel with four narrators around the map of Chautauqua County along three trail systems of the Underground Railroad.


Nicholas Gunner, Saundra Liggins, Jennifer Hildebrand, and Elijah Toro guide the viewer through Douglas Shepard’s extensive research into the facts and myths about the people who escaped slavery through Chautauqua’s hills and the plains of Lake Erie.


To fugitive slaves, who were furtively passed from station to station over the various routes that converged through Chautauqua County toward Buffalo where freedom lay just over the river, the final stages through this county must have inspired both new hope and increased apprehension of capture as they neared their journey’s end.


Controversies that surrounded the Underground Railroad made it dangerous for families to participate and so many of their actions were kept secret even from their closest friends.  One of the unique things Chautauqua County has in its connection to the Railroad is a rare first-hand account, written by Fredonia’s Eber Pettit.  Pettit and his family were conductors on the Railroad; and his written account does much to shed light on the railroad and how it was more than just a series of hiding places.


Admission is free, although donations are accepted.  Map and documentary produced by Nicholas Gunner, of Orbitist, LLC