John Freeman Walls Underground Railroad Museum

932 Lakeshore Road 107, RR 3, Essex, Ontario N8M 2X7 [map]
Telephone: 519-727-6555 or 519-727-4866
Fax: 519-727-5793


From Highway 401, take Exit 28 at Puce Road and head north for approximately two kilometres.


Open to the public May 15 to August 15, 5 days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; open to Schools and Bus groups May 15 - October 31. We encourage all our visitors to make an appointment in advance; it is an interactive open-air guided walking tour.


This historic site commemorates a family chapter in the famous Underground Railroad freedom movement. A commemorative plaque reads: "In 1846, John Freeman Walls, a fugitive slave from North Carolina, built a log cabin on land purchased from the Refugee Home Society. This Organization was founded by the abolitionist Henry Bibb publisher of the Voice of the Fugitive, and the famous Josiah Henson. The Cabin subsequently served as a terminal of the Underground Railroad and the first meeting place of the Puce Baptist Church. Although many former enslaved people returned to the United States following the American Civil War, Walls and his family chose to remain in Canada. The story of their struggles forms the basis of the book The Road That Led To Somewhere by Dr Bryan E. Walls."

Modern-day Underground Railroad conductors (many are direct descendents) take their passengers back in time to create a memorable interactive and educational experience, emphasizing the theme of mutual respect and reconciliation.

There is also a gift shop, tea café and seminar buildings.

Through his 1980 book The Road That Led to Somewhere, Dr. Walls deals with three main themes and engages participants and visitors to the site in an appreciation of one of the most important issues of American and Canadian history – diversity. Connections between the book and site are drawn with existing formal programs and organizations such as, Proverbs Heritage Organization, The African Diaspora Conference and The National Alliance of Faith and Justice ( – out of Washington D.C.).