Frederick Douglass Rural Homesite
In 1852 Frederick Douglass moved from his urban homesite on Alexander Street to a hillside farm south of the city. In this relative seclusion he could more easily accommodate parties of fugitive slaves moving toward Canada on the Underground Railroad.
By 1870 Douglass was spending much of his time in Washington, D. C., where he sought appointment to some national office whose prestige he could employ to further the cause of African Americans. On June 2, 1872, while Douglass was in the nation’s capital, a fire of suspicious origin consumed his farm home and barn. Though no one was hurt, the Douglass family lost most of its possessions. Embittered, Douglass abandoned Rochester for Washington, never to return until his memorial service in Rochester’s Central Church and his interment at a gravesite in Mount Hope Cemetery in 1895.
The site now stands on South Avenue near Highland Park and is occupied by Rochester’s School No. 12. Two historical markers adorn the site; the latter marker, placed in 2005, contains a great deal of interpretive information about Douglass’s life and his 25 years in Rochester.