Chicago is one city that played a crucial role in the Underground Railroad.
The city was known as a haven for those seeking freedom.
"They had a very strong network of those who wanted to provide food and shelter and safety, and Chicago did it well, did it very well," says Sherry Williams of the Bronzeville Historical Society.
From his tailor shop on Dearborn Street wealthy businessman John Jones ran an important stop on the Railroad.
The Tremont House Hotel, which stood on Lake Street, was likewise a vital station.
Quinn Chapel, which thrives to this day, ran their haven where the Modnonnock Building now stands in the South Loop.
Author Glynette Tilley Turner, who has written numerous books on the Underground Railroad, says Hinsdale's Grauc Mill was an important station.
"The village blacksmith in Hinsdale would transport freedom seekers on his farm wagon and bring them here," she says.
From the mill, those seeking freedom might make their way by boat down Salt Creek to the Des Plaines river, making landfall at in suburban Maywood.
Where what was known as Ten Mile House stood where a McDonald's is today.
Others were sheltered at the Blodgett House in Downer's Grove before pressing on to Chicago aided by a very secret community.
"It's just so reassuring. It speaks to the noblest of human instincts," Turner says.
The journey to freedom could take up to six months.
At the Hooel Florence in Chicago's Pullman neighborhood secret codes were woven into quilts which served as signposts at underground railroad stops.
The "Jacob's Ladder" pattern identified a safehouse.
The "Drunkard's Path" warned the traveler to zigzag his route.
Many of the Underground Railroad's secrets are kept to this day.
Sadly, most tangible signs of the Underground Railroad's history in Chicago were lost in the Great Fire in 1871.