Medina, Ohio (April 13, 2022) – Friends of the Cemetery announces that Spring Grove Cemetery has recently been accepted into The National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom (NTF). Spring Grove Cemetery has verifiable connections to the Underground Railroad and American Abolitionist Movement. The cemetery is the final resting place for some of the good people who were conductors, stationmasters, abolitionists and sympathizers who aided, guided, hid and financially supported the freedom seekers.

Among those was Harrison Gray Otis Blake (1818-1876), former Ohio delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senator, who worked in tandem with his wife Elizabeth (1821-1893) to provide shelter and resources to freedom seekers. The Blakes’ daughter, Elizabeth, remembered her mother occasionally prepared extra food to feed individuals who liberated themselves from slavery. Blake’s grave is in Section 5 / lot 28 at Spring Grove Cemetery, located at 775 East Washington Street.

“Friends of the Cemetery is thrilled with the NTF designation for Spring Grove Cemetery. It is an honor to Medina’s history and role in the Underground Railroad and American Abolitionist Movement. Future plans are to submit addendums to our NTF listing to include others associated with the anti-enslavement movement who are buried at Spring Grove,” said Teresa Merkle, President of the Friends of the Cemetery Board of Trustees.

The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom serves to honor, preserve, and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, which continues to inspire people worldwide. The Network currently represents over 700 locations in 39 states, plus Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through its mission, the Network to Freedom helps to advance the idea that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression.

Established in 1883, Spring Grove Cemetery is registered on the National Register of Historic Places and is also recognized as an accredited arboretum. For additional information about Friends of the Cemetery, visit www.friendsofmedinacemetery.com or call Teresa Merkle at the Friends of the Cemetery office, at 330-725-8861, Ext. 1055.


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