Northeast Ohio played an important part in the Abolitionist Movement and in the Underground Railroad during the mid-19th century. This area was a natural choice as a route to freedom for southern slaves. Parts of Ashtabula County's Lake Erie coastline were less than 100 miles from the south (the "tail" of West Virginia, then part of Virginia). In fact, Ohio had the most active network in the Underground Railway, with approximately 3000 miles of routes running from the Ohio River to Lake Erie.
Many area "stations" still stand and several can even be toured.