Burkle Estate is often better known by the name of Slave Haven so-called because it is claimed by many to have once been a way station along the route of the Underground Railroad. The Railroad was a system of houses of abolitionists who aided slaves escape the fierce brutality of Southern slave owners for the promise of a better life in the Northern states. Slave Haven was built by a German by the name of Jacob Burkle who allowed slaves to take refuge in his cellar and use tunnels connected to his home in their bid for freedom.
Things to Do
- A trip to the Burkle Estate brings new insight into the slave trade around Memphis. Due to the great number of cotton plantations in the surrounding area Memphis became a center for slave dealers. As such it surely took great bravery for people like Jacob Burkle to lay their lives on the line to save African slaves who had their most basic liberties stolen from them.
- On a tour of the Museum you will find out much more about Burkle and the role his house played as part of the Railroad. You can also learn about the slave trade in the South and the terrible ordeals that so many Africans had to suffer.
Slave Haven / Burkle Estate Museum Insider Tips
- There has been some controversy surrounding the Museum in recent years as certain historians have disputed whether the house was actually a part of the Underground Railroad. Claims have been made that there is no substantial evidence of the house being used by slaves or that there were even tunnels running underneath it at the time of the Railroad. The truth one way or the other may never be totally proved but either way the Museum still offers an excellent history lesson on a sad time in American history.
- The Museum is closed on Sundays throughout the year.