Midwest Living Review
The setting alone is worth the trip to the top of Liberty Hill, where the tiny Rankin House sits much as it did in the 1800s when the Rev. John Rankin risked his life and the life of his family to help slaves escaping to freedom in Canada from the South. A Presbyterian minister and educator, Rankin was a staunch abolitionist who used his standing in the community to preach the evils of slavery. For almost 40 years, Rankin used his home to hide the fleeing slaves, as many as 12 at a time. A tour of the house, filled with authentic-to-the-period furniture and housewares, reveals some of those hiding places—a cubbyhole in the attic and the dark, damp cellar. The tours are informal yet informative; guests are encouraged to wander and join any group that catches their interest. A number of children listened raptly to a guide tell the story of Uncle Tom's Cabin, based on an experience Rankin told to Harriet Beecher Stowe. The restored stairs that lead steeply from the house down to the river are open for climbing. Views from the hilltop are stunning, and the overall experience is sobering and inspiring. Admission rates are $4 for adults, and $2 for kids from kindergarten through age 18.