The Nathan and Polly Johnson House is a National Historic Landmark for its role as an Underground Railroad site and the first free home of Frederick Douglass. Nathan and Polly Johnson, African American entrepreneurs, were among the City's best known abolitionists in the 19th century, sheltering newly married Anna and Frederick Douglass along with 7 other documented freedom seekers, including William Wells Brown and his daughters Clarissa and Josephine. Brown, a noted abolitionist, is considered the first African American novelist and writer of short stories. Constructed in 1800, the Johnson House has recently been restored to its 1857 splendor.
Tours of New Bedford's Underground Railroad, the Black Heritage Trail, and the Johnson House are given seasonally. Check the New Bedford Historical Society website at: www.nbhistoricalsociety.org for schedules. Tours of the house can be made by appointment.