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Dresden

Trip Planner Canada  /  Ontario  /  Dresden
(4.5/5 based on 40+ reviews for 3 attractions)
Things to do: historic sites, shopping, sightseeing
Dresden is an agricultural community in southwestern Ontario, Canada, part of the municipality of Chatham-Kent. Dresden is best known as the home of Josiah Henson, the former U.S. slave whose life story was the inspiration for the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. It has been, therefore, characterized as the "Terminus of the Underground Railroad", although many escaped slaves were known to gather, at least to worship, as far south and east as what is today Chatham, Ontario. The Henson homestead is a historic site located near what is today the town of Dresden, and is owned and operated by the Ontario Heritage Trust. Dresden is located on the Sydenham River. The community is named after Dresden, Germany. The major crops in the area are wheat, soybeans, corn and tomatoes.CultureDresden is rich in features of interest to visitors and the local population. As an important terminus of the Underground Railroad via overland and marine routes the town was part of a settlement formerly known as the Dawn Settlement. It is the site of Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site, which lies just outside its borders at the corner of Park St. and Uncle Tom's Road (the former 3rd concession). The town and its many organizations including the Horticultural Society, Rotary and IODE, have striven to develop the town's historical legacy and its natural features, particularly the Sydneham River. Dresden's floodplain area, since a 100 year flood in 1968, has been constantly improved with the addition of beautifully landscaped parklands, an arboretum featuring the area's original and diverse Carolinian flora, and the Trillium Trail which includes a historical walk portion. The gateway to the Trillium Trail with its eight interpretive signs can be accessed at St. George St. in the heart of the town, near the bridge. The trail itself features 20 plaques which point out historical sites along a bricked path. The trail celebrates history which is both typical to small rural towns of the period and unique to Dresden's ties to the Underground Railroad story. Guides to the trail are available at the town's Service Centre at the corner of Main and St. George St.
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