The place of freedom

An eloquent reflection on the nature of place, freedom, social justice, and the power of continuity. Narrative community histories converge, diverge, and inspire inquiry. Thanks for sharing this @chipbruce: you’re still teaching us.

Chip's journey

William Hubbard House William Hubbard House, Ashtabula, OH

Place is both the barrier to and the enabler of freedom. The freedom of a vacation comes from its being a getaway, but few things feel less free than totally losing a sense of place while traveling in a strange land.

That dual nature applies to more significant experiences as well, as I reflected on seeing the William Hubbard House in Ashtabula, Ohio.

Hubbard moved to Ashtabula from Holland Patent, New York, around 1834. (I could never have predicted that without any planning we’d pass through both of those small places, set on back roads 330 miles apart, on the same day.)

Hubbard became involved in the local antislavery society and town politics. His house was a strategic location for the Underground Railroad, set on the shore of Lake Erie and with his own ferry port nearby. His house was the last stop before a boat ride across the lake…

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