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Tryon’s Folly

Tryon's Folly in Queenston Ontario


Recommended by Franc McPhee
Part of Underground Railroad story


“Tryon’s Folly” was part of the Underground Railroad helping American slaves escape to freedom in Canada. You can see this unique house across the river in Lewiston, USA.

From the street, it looks like a normal house, but the view from the river reveals a series of four basements. It was this 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 made it easier to transport goods up from the river to the house level.

Amo’s brother Josiah was a tailor in Lewiston, 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.

Photo by Franc McPhee

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