Underground Railroad Society
of Cass County, Michigan
|Become a Friend of the Bonine House!
Preserve and restore the James E. Bonine House and Carriage House as outstanding examples of Victorian domestic architecture.
Create a museum, learning center and community meeting house as the focal point for understanding the role Quaker, African-American and other abolitionist groups played in the Underground Railroad.
Create a cultural tourism destination for Underground Railroad enthusiasts that will bring visitors and tourism dollars into the community.
The Art of Paul Collins Show and Sale--a great weekend!
Celebrated Artist Paul Collins attended all three days of the art show at the Bonine House, featuring his spectacular art portraying subjects from around the world. Paul was gracious in speaking to all who wanted to meet him, giving his message of universal harmony among all people.
The show was open to the public on Oct 4 and 5 followed by a Members and Guests Reception on Oct 6. There were over 30 works of art on display throughout the house representing Paul's extensive career. Three large original oils graced the rooms downstairs, along with museum quality framed prints. Many guests purchased prints of Paul's famed "Harriet Tubman's Underground Railroad" after seeing the original 1978 painting displayed in the parlor. A beautifully framed giclee (zhee-clay) on canvas print was purchased and donated to the Bonine House by board member Larry Sehy, and will be on display for events.
Paul's wife Carol Collins also attended all three days, attending to the business side of the show. Paul and Carol donated a portion of all sales to URSCC, and have pledged to remain involved with our projects and our mission. On behalf of the URSCC Board and Membership, we thank Paul and Carol for their support and generosity.
For more information on Paul and to see more of his art, please go to www.collinsart.org.
Enjoy the photo gallery below-
Underground Railroad Days 2013 was a great success! In it's fourth year, the celebration of the Underground Railroad in and around Vandalia was bigger and better than ever.
Lead up week activities included a round table discussion about growing up in Vandalia and Cass County as a legacy of the UGRR. Over 20 people talked about growing up without racial differences; about going to school and socializing together. Several said they really didn't realize that the races were different until they visited other areas while in high school. And they all spoke of how that legacy continues to this day.
Sam Adams Elementary students presented their Cass County Wax Museum again for those in the community that didn't have a chance to see their earlier performance at the Bonine House.
Von and Fran Washington played to a full house on Friday, their performance terrific as always. Lois Hart read "Cass County Brave" to great effect. World renowned artist Paul Collins was Lois' guest. He brought his iconic painting "The Underground Railroad" to display for the audience.
On Saturday, Vandalia hosted a well attended classic car show and several vendor booths. A first time soul food dinner, served by the Vandalia Church of God, sold out to great acclaim.
URSCC sponsored guided tours of UGRR sites telling the story of the Kentucky Raid of 1847. Five presentations in the Youth Center were well attended, and the displays, including one about the 175th Anniversary of Chain Lake Baptist Church, drew great interest.
The information booth in the park told the story of the UGRR in Cass County, and the role of URSCC. Mary Anne Bonine created and served "Ramptown Soup" made from ramps growing in her backyard. Look for her recipe on our "Ramptown" page.
New this year was a 3 tent 'living history' encampment of the 101st MI Regiment. The soldiers were eager to share their stories and information about the Civil War.
Another new addition to the festival was the model of a Ramptown log cabin, complete with a front porch, created by the men at Penn Friends Church. The cabin is fast becoming the symbol for UGRR Days. Every hour a different 'act' would debut on the porch. Music and singing by individuals and groups, storytelling, poetry, crafts, and art as well as a dramatic portrayal of a soldier of the 102 Colored Troops, entertained audiences all day both Saturday and Sunday. Over a thousand people toured the Bonine House, coming from all over the region.
On Sunday a community church service was held under a tent on the grounds with several churches and choirs participating.
Underground Railroad Days will be held on the 2nd weekend of July, with the 2014 festival on July 12 and 13. Mark your calendars!!
Please enjoy the photo galleries below.
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Please Become A Friend Of The Bonine House
Underground Railroad Society of Cass County
PO Box 124
Vandalia, MI 49095