Levi and Catharine Coffin were legendary in helping many former slaves escape to freedom in the North. Levi is often referred to as the President of the Underground Railroad. Life for a runaway slave was full of hazards. The journey to freedom meant traveling only a few miles at night, using the North Star as a map and trying to avoid search parties. Often, escaped slaves would hide in homes or on the property of antislavery supporters.
These stops to freedom were called Underground Railroad stations because they resembled stops a train would make between destinations. To the thousand of escaped slaves, an eight-room Federal style brick home in Newport (Fountain City), Indiana, became a safe haven on their journey to Canada. This was the home of Levi and Catharine Coffin, North Carolina Quakers who opposed slavery. During the 20 years they lived in Newport, the Coffins helped more than 2,000 slaves reach safety. The Coffin house was purchased in 1967 by the State of Indiana. The house was restored and then opened to the public in 1970. The site is a registered National Historic Landmark and is operated by the Levi Coffin House Association.