Historians trying to preserve Underground Railroad safe house in York Co.

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HELLAM TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- A group in York County is trying to save a piece of history.

The Mifflin Farm and house in Hellam Township is in danger of being demolished, along with two other properties in York County, according to Preservation Pennsylvania.

The property was built around 1800, and it became a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Randy Harris, a historic preservation consultant from Lancaster, said, "Which is a racially integrated, religiously inspired civil rights movement. Which is a phenomenal story for us to be able to tell today in places like this to really help overcome the racial divide that exists in this country today."

Harris said the house is currently owned by the Blessing family, and they plan to sell it to Kinsley Properties for commercial development.

The area around the 10-acre site is an industrial park already owned by Kinsley.

Harris said, "The industrial park developer wants to bring a new customer in and the site that they would need to accomplish that new development would result in this farm house being demolished."

Civil War historian Scott Mingus said there's also a Civil War tie-in to the property.

Not only does it contain history, he said it's an ironic history.

Mingus said, "While the Mifflin family were trying to end slavery, trying to protect freedom seekers, yet just a couple years later Confederates were firing artillery from that hill bent on protecting the institution of slavery on the very same property."

The Blessing family and Kinsley have to get a permit from the township to be able to tear down the house and farm, and have not done so yet.

Don Bair, the director of Historic Wrightsville Inc. Diorama, and teaches people about this property.

Bair said, "It is my sincere hope one day to point up to that hill and say you see that house up there? A bunch of years back it was going to be demolished, but luckily it's still there. And then tell the history of it."

These historians are trying to reach a compromise with the Blessing family and Kinsley Properties.

We were unable to get ahold of Tim Kinsley with the Kinsley Properties. A member of the Blessing family did not want to make a comment. Another member did not get back to us.

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