Midwest Living Review
No doubt, John Parker is a fascinating historical figure. Born into slavery, John Parker had the good "fortune" that his owner was a doctor, giving him access to books that he eagerly devoured. After illegally educating himself and working at several jobs to earn extra money, he bought his freedom at age 18 and headed north to Ohio, where he eventually settled, built a foundry, and became a business owner, inventor and conductor in the Underground Railroad. Unfortunately, there is little tangible evidence left of his life, which is obvious in the lack of exhibits in his Ripley, Ohio, home, currently undergoing restoration. The second floor contains drawings, timelines, text and photos on the walls; the lack of actual memorabilia makes the exhibit rather dry. The tour consists of a docent reciting the story of John Parker's life, an interesting tale, but sitting in chairs listening to one person talk for half an hour could make anyone restless. We applaud the effort, but would probably recommend the nearby Rankin House over this one.