The core focal point of the future Stevens-Smith Interpretive Center, these masonry cisterns were discovered during our work stabilizing the Thaddeus Stevens house and law office, as the Lancaster Convention Ctr was being built. Originally below ground and between the rear wings of two buildings then owned by Stevens, they are now enclosed within the convention ctr structure which spans above. They can be viewed from Vine St through glass panels along the street, and from inside the convention ctr. Archaeologists determined that the vault- shaped cistern was altered internally and made accessible from the adjoining brewery basement (other side of the remnant stone wall behind). It was then probably used as an emergency hideout for fugitive slaves during moments when bounty-hunter slave catchers or federal marshals may have been searching the town. Since then, the Natl Network to Freedom has listed this site on their validated inventory of UGRR sites.