Kansas home likely used on Underground Railroad demolished

Abolitionist John Brown who frequently visited th William Owen home in Topeka. (Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A Civil War-era home north of Topeka that was thought to have been a way station on the Underground Railroad has been demolished.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Rhode Island abolitionist William Owen constructed the two-story building in 1858. The children of E.J. and Francis O’Hara, who sold it at a 2006 auction, said abolitionist John Brown was a frequent visitor. They also said Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman stayed there for a week before serving in the Civil War.

But the home was severely damaged in an October 2009 fire. A Topeka Fire Department report estimated the damage at $129,600.

The home stood on property owned by the trust of John D. Debacker, who died in 2012. His widow, Flora Debacker, confirmed Wednesday that workmen demolished it Tuesday.

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