Architecture & History | Famous Local History, Museums, Must See

Underground Railroad Memorial

11 West Lake Street
Maywood, IL 60153

Meet us where freedom was harbored

There is a lot of untold history on this site in Maywood where Lake Street meets the Des Plaines River. Here there once stood an unassuming inn that housed a very big secret.

The inn was a designated “Ten Mile Stop,” a place where weary settlers hauling their crops to Chicago on horse-drawn carriages could stay for a night. The inns were spaced 10 miles apart, which is how they came to be called Ten Mile Houses.

This Ten Mile House had another purpose, though. In the 1800s, it was a stop on the Underground Railway, a crucial safe house for slaves on their dangerous trek to freedom.

The inn was razed in 1927 and a McDonald's now stands in its place. At the time the inn was torn down, nobody knew its history. That’s because there are very few records indicating the places where safe houses once stood along the Underground Railroad.

After all, in order to succeed in their mission, the “conductors” along this route to freedom had to operate in complete secrecy.

Many years after the structure was razed, old photos and maps of Maywood were discovered that pointed to the secret purpose of the old inn. That’s when a group of community leaders took action. Volunteers with Operation UpLift INC. and the West Town Museum of Cultural History worked together to ensure that the historic site is honored with a memorial.

Now you can find repurposed railroad tracks positioned symbolically next to broken shackles and a plaque that honors the Underground Railroad and the “Ten Mile Freedom House” that once stood on the spot.

A quote from the legendary Underground Railroad Conductor Harriet Tubman is included on the plaque.

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You can visit the Maywood Underground Railroad Memorial at any time.


There is no cost to visit the Underground Railroad Memorial that stands in Maywood.

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The Maywood Underground Railroad Memorial sits on top of the site where the 10 Mile Freedom House once stood. It’s in the parking lot of the McDonald's on the southeast corner of 1st Avenue and Lake Street.

The address of the McDonald’s Restaurant is: 11 West Lake Street in Maywood.

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