Glenwood opens monument and park at Underground Railroad site

ByJasmine Minor WLS logo
Monday, September 18, 2023
Glenwood opens memorial to stop on Underground Railroad
A new memorial in Glenwood marks one stop on the Underground Railroad, a nationwide network that helped slaves escape to freedom in America in the 1800s.

GLENWOOD, Ill. (WLS) -- Glenwood has opened a monument to the Underground Railroad at a site used in the national freedom network in their village.

"Not only are we able to get the message across to adults but to the youth," said Leon Fields, Underground Railroad Memorial Park chairman. "Those people who ventured out in the Underground Railroad basically had nothing but themselves, and they had the North Star."

Fields said enslaved people would get off the train at the site of this memorial park and then cross the street to what used to be Fireside Chalet, a restaurant that served as a safe haven.

Glenwood itself is 74% Black, so the memorial park will be an important tool to teach each new generation the lessons of the past so they can have a better future.

"You don't think like an area that we drive by everything. I live right down the street from here, so this is our own history in our own backyard," said 6th District Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller. "It takes people. One person with an idea, one committee, one to bring us all into the fold. And that's what they've done."