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York, PA was home to one of the most active Underground Railroad stationmasters, William C. Goodridge. A prominent African-American businessman in York, Goodridge built the tallest building of its time in York City, and often hosted anti-slavery meetings with noted abolitionists. He owned and operated several businesses with his wife and partner Emily, including a barbershop, a variety store, an employment agency, and a line of railroad cars and associated delivery business. They also owned several properties, one of which they donated to the African-American school. Their eldest son Glenalvin taught at that school, and was also one of the first African-American photographers in the country, operating a Skylit studio in their business center that his younger brothers Wallace and William continued in Saginaw Michigan after relocating there in the early 1860s.
Today the Goodridge home stands as evidence to the drive and ambition necessary for a black family in their time to build the kind of wealth and standing that the Goodridges possessed in the York community, and also as a testament to the extreme humanity William C. Goodridge exhibited through selfless acts as he risked his own life to guide escaping slaves to freedom.
The family home has been dedicated to preserving this legacy, as the William C. Goodridge Freedom Center and Underground Railroad Museum.
123 East Philadelphia St.
York, PA 17401
Contact: Carol Kauffman
(717) 848-3610 Ext 230