Local history was the focus of a May 17 field trip taken by New Richmond Middle School eighth-graders.
The theme for the trip was the Underground Railroad in the Village of New Richmond. The local history lesson was made possible thanks to a partnership between the New Richmond Exempted Village School District, Historic New Richmond, and local businesses.
Originally planned as a walking tour of important sites in the village, the field trip had to be modified due to weather conditions. Despite the rain, students rotated between several stations: the Bandstand, the Ross-Gowdy House, and Cranston Presbyterian Church.
At the Ross Gowdy House, students had the opportunity to see artifacts relating to travel on the Ohio River and hear stories of New Richmond and runaway slaves. Simple toys from circa 1850 were also available to students.
The discussions at Cranston Presbyterian Church focused on Underground Railroad conductors, the role churches played in helping escaped slaves, and on famous anti-slavery speakers who spoke in the church including James Birney, John Rankin, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s husband, Calvin Stowe, and her brother, George Beecher.
With the Ohio River serving as the backdrop, the discussions at the New Richmond Bandstand focused on coded music.
There were also discussions on the Fugitive Slave Act and the Compromise of 1850.
The event was a tremendous success and will likely be repeated next year, Superintendent Tracey Miller recently reported to the Board of Education. The opportunity developed as an idea from the district’s Business Advisory Council.