New Philadelphia was the first town in the country set up an African American, Free Frank McWorter, in 1836. He was born a slave in Kentucky but bought his freedom and established the town in West Central Illinois. His Great-Great Grandson, historian Gerald McWorter, told WGN’s Steve Bertrand he was involved in the Underground Railroad, bringing 16 family members to freedom.
New Philadelphia is the newest National Historic Site designated by the National Park Service. The site is about 90 miles west of Springfield.