Slave Haven


Stockyard owner Jacob Berkle, a German immigrant active in the anti-slavery movement, risked his life by operating this Underground Railroad way station in his modest home on the outskirts of Memphis from about 1855 until the abolition of slavery.

Jacob Burkle, a German immigrant, was among those in the anti-slavery movement who risked their lives to help escaping Africans by harboring them in their homes and aiding their journey to freedom. Cloaked in secrecy, Burkle, a stockyard owner, operated an underground Railroad way station on the outskirts of Memphis from around 1855 until the abolition of slavery. Burkle's unsuspecting, modest home, known as Slave Haven, located near the banks of the Mississippi River, provided refuge for runaway slaves during their flight to freedom in the North. A walk through this antebellum home is a journey through history, revealing bits of its past that had been kept secret for more than 100 years. Descending the stairs into the dark, damp, cellar and peering through the trap doors and hidden passages where the fugitives were harbored gives visitors a glimpse of those turbulent times.

  • Burkle's home near the Mississippi River gave refuge to runaway slaves seeking freedom.
  • A dark cellar, trap doors and hidden passages give a glimpse of turbulent times.
  • Imagine the daring escapes of those determined to break the chains of slavery.