Second Baptist Church

315 Decatur Street

One of the most active stations in the Sandusky Underground Railroad network is the Second Baptist Church. It was founded as Zion Baptist Church in 1849 by a group of former slaves and freeborn Blacks. Just prior to the Civil War, the church was organized at its present site at 315 Decatur Street under the name First Regular Anti-Slavery Baptist Church. Many refugee slaves were hidden, fed, and clothed there. The present church (circa 1930) is constructed around the original church’s wooden framework, and along with the adjacent parsonage, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Church member John Lott collected items for runaways at his barbershop on Water Street near the steamship docks. John Lott may have felt that he had nothing to lose since his family died in the Cholera epidemic that hit Sandusky in 1849. He was so brave that he even advertised in the newspaper on behalf of those escaping. His advertisement read, “Whereas there are many colored persons which have been obliged to flee to Canada for their liberty, and there is likely to follow the greatest destitution for want of the means of subsistence—this is to notify all persons that any provisions, either by way of clothes or otherwise, which shall be left either at the shop of JOHN WINFIELD or J.B. LOTT, will be faithfully applied for use of such destitute persons.”