LEWISTON, N.Y. - From the street it looks like a normal house, but the view from the river reveals a series offour basements. It wasthis site that,for possibly hundreds, represented freedom.
Amos Tryon built the home in 1830 for his wife. He added the elaborate series of cellars with the idea that it was make it easier to transport goods up from the river to the house level.
It quickly became known as Tryon's Folly when Amo's wife decided she did not want to move from the village and the house sat empty.
It was empty until Amo's brother Josiah found another use. Josiah was a tailor in the village, but also an elder at the Presbyterian Church. The church became very active on the Underground Railroad. Josiah was known as a "station master".
With the help of Amo's idle home, Josiah was able to sneak possibly hundreds of escaped slaves down the gorge wall, to the river and row them across to Canada and freedom.
Josiah's efforts and Lewiston's role in the Underground Railroad was immortalized in the 1969 novel, "Freedom Crossing". The book became the most popular Underground Railroad book of all time.