History

Joel (1825-1879) and Emily Grover (1839-1921) sheltered freedom seekers in their 1858 stone barn on their farm near Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas Territory during the late 1850s. The Grover Barn is documented to have been involved on at least two incidents with the Underground Railroad. One incident involved two freedom seekers that were transported to the barn and the other involved eleven formerly enslaved individuals and a free-born baby who were hidden at the Grover barn in January 1859. The abolitionist, John Brown and his men had helped to liberate the group from slavery in Missouri the previous December in a highly publicized raid.  After a brief stay at Grover barn on his last trip to Kansas, Brown led the freedom seekers to Detroit, Michigan, and saw them cross over into Canada.

The Grover barn and a portion of the original farm remained in the Grover family for 105 years. From 1963-1976 the barn was used as an artist’s studio and in 1980 the City of Lawrence acquired the building for use as a Fire Station through 2006. This structure is one of the best preserved Underground Railroad stations still standing in Lawrence and is nationally significant not only because of its connection to John Brown, but also because of the rich documentation that exists about the twelve freedom seekers and their route to Canada