“Never say mean words out of anger. Your anger will pass. But your mean words can scar a person for life. So use kind words or be silent.” ~ Unknown
On a steep bank overlooking the Ohio River sits an old three story house. It belonged to the Bierbower family, German immigrants in Pennsylvania who settled on the Western frontier of Maysville, Kentucky in the 1830’s. They became successful merchants. They were also against slavery. The Bierbower house gave refuge to slaves seeking freedom across the river. Beneath the floorboards of their cellar lay black men and women silent and still until they could successfully cross the Mason Dixon line. Today, the Bierbower House is called the National Underground Railroad Museum. Mom and Dad visited the museum several years ago and were blown away by the experience. The Rental Sisters and I made our way from Augusta, just nineteen miles away, to visit, too. Our tour guide, Crystal, was a wealth of information. She was enthusiastic, kind, and very generous with her time. No photos inside the museum are allowed, which is not uncommon and I was happy to abide. Crystal felt bad for me I think. At the end of the tour she took me to the third floor porch, normally closed to the public, where I snapped the photos below. It’s virtually impossible to stitch wide angle photos into a pano so I didn’t bother to try. I trust you to use your senses to understand just how expansive the view was for the Bierbower family and how daunting a journey it was for those seeking freedom. If you’re ever in Maysville, stop by the Museum and tell Crystal I sent you (and thank you for the extra special tour). It’s an inexpensive education and the message matters now as much as ever.