The Destination Freedom: Underground Railroad Walking Tour of Waverly at the Waverly Community House examines the complex history of a small village, centered around its role in the Underground Railroad. Comm Grants Coordinator Gia Reviello began to develop the tour in early 2016based off various primary and secondary sources including manuscripts, books, and archived newspaper articles. A large portion of the research for the tour also came from Waverly native and former Philadelphia Inquirer journalist and editor Jim Remsen’s 2017 book titled Embattled Freedom: Chronicle of a Fugitive-Slave Haven in the Wary North. Remsen tells the complex story of Waverly, and Northeastern Pennsylvania as a whole, during the Civil War era and profiles many of the central figures highlighted on the Destination Freedom tour. Guided tours began in 2017 and since then, with the amazing support of our community, the program has grown into a valued local resource that brings an important history to the public.
The Destination Freedom: Underground Railroad Walking Tour of Waverly is the only program centered around the Underground Railroad and local Civil War era history of its kind in the area. It is an interactive program that explores the lives of the small village's abolitionists and formerly enslaved settlers. As a public oriented program, we aim to tell the story of Waverly by exploring the town itself and using the experiences of 19th century Waverly residents to better understand the world around us today.