The John Rankin House, in Ripley, was identified in a USA Today article on Aug. 17 as a “Hidden Gem of Ohio.”
The article showcased “lesser-known attractions” in every state, and picked the Rankin House to represent the state of Ohio, due to its rich history as a key-point on the Underground Railroad.
The Rankin House recently underwent extensive interior renovations to return the decor and furniture to what it may have looked like during the time the Rankin House was used in the 19th century.
“We were very pleased that in the State of Ohio, of all the wonderful places for visitors to go to, that USA Today chose the Rankin House,” said Betty Campbell, President of Ripley Heritage Inc. “I think everybody in Ripley and everyone in Brown County should be pleased and proud of that. We always see an uptick in visitors whenever there’s an article about the Rankin House that receives either state or national attention.
The Rankin House is designated as a National Historic Landmark, which is the highest federal designation that can be placed on a historic site. Presbyterian minister and abolitionist John Rankin as well as his wife and children lived in the home from the early 1820s through the 1860s, helping hundreds of escaped slaves who just crossed over the Ohio River into Ohio and on their way to freedom in the north.
“I think the fact that USA Today chose our site helps to make people understand this national historic landmark status just a bit better,” Campbell said. “It’s a feather in any site’s cap to be named a national historic landmark.”
Visitors can still visit the Rankin House through the end of October. The house is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, and 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday.