William and Letitia Underground Railroad Philadelphia House. Call for Letters to Support Protection.

Donna Rilling's picture
March 9, 2018
Pennsylvania, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, American History / Studies, Historic Preservation, Public History, Slavery

The house where antislavery activists William and Letitia Still resided in the early 1850s still stands in Philadelphia, and has recently been nominated for protection to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.  The advisory Committee on Historic Designation (CHD) will consider making a recommendation for approval on the nomination on Wednesday, February 14th.  The Philadelphia Historical Commission (PHC) will likely decide whether to add the building to the Register at its March 9th meeting.

On behalf of the "citizen preservationists" who located the house and quickly put together a nomination (having reason to be concerned about the building’s immediate fate), I share the link to the nomination:


Several renowned historians responded generously to our requests for letters in support of the nomination.  Consequently, the PHC staff took the necessary steps to protect the building pending the outcome of the nomination and advance the nomination to the CHD’s agenda.  But Philadelphia has witnessed considerable demolition of its historic fabric in the current building economy, so nothing is assured at this point.  We welcome additional letters that emphasize the importance of the Stills’ antislavery work and their critical role in African American history.  (Keep in mind that only one of the PHC’s members is an historian.)  Letters by mail or email need to reach the Commission before the March 9th meeting. They should be addressed to:

Robert Thomas, Chair

Philadelphia Historical Commission

c/o Dr. Jonathan E. Farnham, Executive Director

One Parkway, 13th floor

1515 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19102


If you have any questions, please contact me directly.  

On behalf of my fellow nominators James M. Duffin, Oscar Beisert and Rachel Hildebrandt, thank you.

Contact Info: 

Donna Rilling

Department of History

SUNY, Stony Brook