Hidden History: Update on fight to save Mifflin House

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Last year, we told you about a special piece of history in York County and the effort to save it from being torn down.

“It really is a very important site that has to be preserved,” said Mindy Crawford, executive director of Preservation PA.

Mifflin House in Hellam Township, York County played a key role in American history. It was a pivotal stop on the Underground Railroad in the 1800s because of its close proximity to the Susquehanna River.

The Mifflin’s helped hundreds of slaves escape to their freedom. We first told you about this story last year because the house was in serious danger of being demolished.

“When we talked a year ago, I was not all that optimistic about our ability to move forward,” Crawford said. 

Preservation PA placed the house on its endangered properties list. People in the community rallied to save it.

“They’ve been great keeping the word out, talking, telling the stories, having events so they could bring attention to this,” Crawford said. “We’ve been working on the other side of this, having conversations with the developer to see if there was a way he would not demolish the house.”

Now, there is new hope. The company that owns the property has agreed to sell Mifflin House and the land around it.

“What’s so exciting about Mifflin House is, first of all, it is a beautiful stone farmhouse that is virtually intact,” Crawford said. “I would love to save something like that, but then to have the added layer of this significant Underground Railroad site that most people didn’t even know about, I think it’s really exciting.”

Preservation PA now has 24 months to raise the funds or find a buyer. This is a huge step forward, one that doesn’t usually come in these types of cases. It’s also a big win for those hoping to save a piece of Midstate history.

“If we can connect it to the river, the full story is there about how the Mifflins were involved and how they would help escaped slaves get across the river and on their way to freedom,” Crawford said. “I get chills talking about it because it is just so important.”

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