Penn National Gaming, one of Pennsylvania’s licensed casino operators might come to the rescue of a historic landmark that was part of the 1800s Underground Railroad. The operator claimed the first satellite casinos auction with a $50.1 million bid in January chose an area within a 15-mile radius centered in York County where the historic Underground Railroad house is located.
Penn National Gaming has been soliciting the support of the local township with the promise of preserving the Mifflin House if the town’s leaders welcome gambling. This follows Pennsylvania’s statewide gambling expansion initiative that kicked off in October 2017.
As it stands, the developer who currently owns the historic brick house has been planning to demolish it. Area officials have, however, refused to issue demolition permits to the developer, a situation that has since sparked a conflict that has been extended to the courts – the legal dispute still remains unsettled though.
So, where does Penn National Gaming come in? Well, according to a York Daily Record story from earlier this week, the operator has been eyeing three parcels of land in an area that is off the Wrightsville exit of Route 30 for its satellite casino – one of the parcels of land happens to be where the historic Mifflin House is located.
The brick house was built in the early 1800s and operated by Jonathan and Susanna Mifflin who use it as a safe house on the Underground Railroad up until the late 1850s. The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses that were used by African-American slaves to escape into free states. The Mifflin House sits on a hill above the Borough of Wrightsville surrounded by a growing industrial park. Due to its association with the Underground Railroad, the house is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. A movement has even been formed to save the property.
Penn Nation assured the town that it would preserve the historic house if the company decides to select the area where the Mifflin House sits. Already, there seems to be some positive feedback as all of the township’s supervisors are in favor of having a mini-casino in the area.
“We are pleased that Hellam Township opted back in as a potential host municipality for our category 4 satellite casino. We continue to explore a number of other options in York County and plan to make a final decision on a site in the near future. Should we ultimately decide to locate on land adjacent to the Mifflin House, we expect to work with township officials and community members to identify ways to preserve and promote the historic property,” a Penn National Gaming spokesperson said to FOX43.