ALTON, Ill. (KSDK) - It is a path into the past.
"Most people assume the Underground Railroad is something they see out on the east coast," said Eric Robinson, an instructor of history at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
It's a subject Robinson knows quite well.
"Escaped slaves coming from St. Charles County from Orchard Farm and West Alton crossed the Mississippi River apparently at winter as the Mississippi River froze and came up the Piasa Creek. Once they got here, they found things that would guide them to safety," Robinson said.
These days he not only shares the stories.
"And we're here outside of Alton in the Rocky Fork community where there were escaped slaves settling in the 1850's and the 1860's," Robinson said.
But allows people to experience the places where escaped slaves lived and were hidden when Alton wasn't quite so welcoming.
"From the time of it's construction in 1858 there was a story that said slaves could enter a tunnel at the Mississippi River go through this building and pop up in Brighton 12 miles away," Robinson said.
Step inside and you can practically feel the fear.
"This is where we believe they were hidden," Robinson said.
It is a history lesson beyond books that allows visitors the opportunity to experience the Underground Railroad in Alton like never before.
J.E. Robinson Tours and theAlton Regional CVBare hosting tours this Saturday and again on February 22nd. A shuttle will take you to multiple stops. Admission is $25.