Explore the Lewelling House Grounds

The Lewelling House is one of several homes in the Quaker community of Salem where freedom seekers were welcome.


How did freedom seekers identify the Lewelling House as a safe place?

Text Alternative

You are standing in front of the Lewelling House. The Lewelling House is a two-story, brown, limestone house with a full front porch. It has two solid green front doors, one on each side of the gray wooden steps leading up to the porch. On the second floor, there are four windows with green shutters equally spaced across the front of the house. There are two windows with green shutters on the ground floor, one beside each of the front doors. The sign hanging from the porch roof over the steps reads “Lewelling Quaker Museum.”

House Description

The Lewelling House, Salem, Iowa

In 1837, Henderson and Elizabeth Lewelling, along with their four kids, built this house in Salem, Iowa. They, along with their community of Quakers, were very serious about abolishing slavery. Here, the Lewellings established successful businesses and orchards, all while secretly helping freedom seekers escape from Missouri where slavery was still legal, and just 25 miles away.

Image top left: A section of an 1848 map of the United States showing an outline of the state of Iowa. Salem, Iowa, is represented with a dot in the southeast corner of the map just above the state of Missouri.

Image bottom left: The side of the Lewelling house. A white sign with black lettering reads “Lewelling House Museum, Salem, Iowa, Apple, Tree Picnic Area.”

Image top right: The Lewelling House

Image bottom right: An egg-shaped water tower with a red, triangular cap. The water tower reads “Salem.”

Image bottom center: A plaque that reads “Lewelling House built in 1840. Has been placed on the National Register for Historic places by the United States Department of the Interior.”

Question A

Henderson Lewelling was an expert in growing fruit trees and planted large groves of trees near his house. How might this have been helpful for freedom seekers?

Question B

Henderson and Elizabeth Lewelling built a large and very unique-looking house. Most houses built in this time period, the 1830s, were log cabins. How is the unique look of the house an advantage for freedom seekers?