pictured: Post Street in the 1840s. Photo from the official website of the Oneida County Freedom Trail
The Oneida County Freedom Trail has installed the final sign of their walking tour. This final step allowed the self-guided tour to be officially introduced to the public at 4 p.m. on August 23. The formal introduction took place at the Hayden Building at 98 Genesee street, the site of the final sign. Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente were in attendance, along with many other community members who supported the project.
The tour is one mile long, with six interpretative signs located at five stops. Three of the sites relate directly to the Underground Railroad, one of which is the Hayden Building. Here in 1836, two men who had escaped from Virginia were captured by slave-catchers. A crowd of Black men rescued the two freedom seekers and sent them on to Oswego. The August 23 event began as the crowd met in front of the actual building where this took place, a building that is now registered with the National Park Service.
Another stop on the tour is indicated by a Post Street sign that identifies Utica’s Black underground railroad neighborhood. The Oneida County Freedom Trail has submitted an application to the National Park Service to list Post Street on their national listing of recognized sites. Once that recognition is granted, Utica will boast of two nationally recognized sites, the other one being the Hayden Building.
The Oneida County Freedom Trail has researched the Underground Railroad in Oneida since it first met in February 2001.The group was organized in part as a response from the Federal National Park Service to identify and preserve sites and information related to the Underground Railroad nationwide. Members of the Oneida County Freedom Trail hold regular meetings at the Oneida County Historical Society.
More information about the group, and about each stop on Oneida County’s Underground Railroad can be found by visiting the Oneida County Freedom Trail’s official website at: www.oneidacountyfreedomtrail.com