This is an American icon. It was used as a hitching post for horses. But more importantly, before emancipation in 1865, it served as a symbol to let slaves know that a house was a safe house when they traveled through the underground railroad; any house with a hitching post meant safety to a runaway slave. In addition, there would often be tunnels underneath the safe house leading to the underground railroad. In the house, the slaves got a hot meal, a bath, and a good night’s rest and then left before daylight the following morning.