While the Lathrop House has been quiet amidst the ongoing pandemic, plans for its future have been anything but dormant. Recently, Heritage Sylvania formed the Lathrop House Project Committee to craft a vision for further development of the site to allow us to expand our ability to tell this important chapter in the history of our region and country.
The Lathrop House was a station on the Underground Railroad. The lower level, currently open to the public, highlights the role it played during this pivotal time in not only Sylvania’s history but that of the nation as well. It is currently the only Underground Railroad station in Northwest Ohio open to the public.
“When we opened the basement museum and reconstructed cellar area in 2014, it was always our intention to expand the vision, and examine our own lives and family histories in the context of freedom or freedom denied, what we would be willing to do to obtain our freedom and the faith, courage and resilience necessary to make the freedom a reality”, explains Sue McHugh Heritage Sylvania board member and chair of the Project Committee. “So many of our visitors express interest in going upstairs. Some are descendants of the Lathrops. Some have a connection to later occupants of the house or have childhood memories of visiting the families who lived here in the 20th century. Others are just curious to know what a 170-year-old house might look like. Developing the upper stories of the house will greatly enhance our ability to offer creative programming and experiences and other forms of community engagement.”
Along with Sue, other members of the committee are: Tom Blank, President of the Heritage Sylvania Board, Jettie Sansbury, Heritage Sylvania Board member and Lathrop House volunteer, Jackie Konwinski, retired teacher and Lathrop House volunteer, John Jones, Community Liaison at ProMedica and former President of the Toledo Urban League, Dr. Ted Ligibel, retired Department of Historic Preservation Chair at Eastern Michigan University, Mary Kay Solt, former President of Heritage Sylvania Board and volunteer, and Andi Erbskorn, Executive Director of Heritage Sylvania.
As the Lathrop House stood as a beacon of freedom 170 years ago, these plans ensure that it will continue to shed light on our lives today and into the future.