Your Hometown: Seneca Falls, the home of the Women's Rights Movement
In a town midway between Syracuse and Rochester, almost two centuries ago, a group of women decided that they were going to do something about the way they were treated. With that, a nationwide movement was born in Central New York. In this week's edition of Your Hometown, YNN's Erin Clarke takes us to the town of Seneca Falls and tells us how the history of the Women's Suffrage Movement and legacy of other great women is being preserved.
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SENECA FALLS, N.Y. -- History like the perfectly preserved home of feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton is what keeps tourism booming in this town of about 11 thousand west of Syracuse.
A town that among other things, is known for being the birthplace of Women's' Rights.
"In 1848 Elizabeth Caddy Stanton and some others met in Waterloo, just to the west of Seneca Falls and decided that something needed to be done to address the plight of women in this country," said Seneca Falls Historical Society Board of Trustees Member, Francis Caracillo.
The group of intrepid women decided to host a convention in this building that still stands on Fall Street today, the Wesleyan Chapel.
"The convention was a huge success. Very little advanced notice was available, yet 300 people packed the Wesleyan Chapel on a very hot couple of days in July," said Caracillo.
The result, a final draft of The Declaration of Sentiments, a document that contained several resolutions including that a man should not withhold a woman's rights or take her property. The groundwork laid that day would also pave the way for a woman's right to vote.
A movement that many of us associate with Susan B. Anthony started here in Seneca Falls.
Because the fight for Women's Rights began here in Seneca Falls, it's only fitting that those women and others who follow in their footsteps blazing trails are remembered and honored at the National Women's Hall of Fame.
"Here are 247 stories of outstanding, amazing, courageous, brazen, bold women and within the confines of these 247 stories, I think everybody can find their own story. The stories of overcoming challenges, the stories of being told you can't, you won't, a woman can't do that," said National Women's Hall of Fame Executive Director, Christine Moulton.
The stories of historic figures are told right along side those of contemporary women.
Many who are still alive today. The museum welcomes new inductees every two years...partially because the space is getting a little cramped.
The future home of the National Women's Hall of Fame is an historic site itself and also right across the canal from where that first Women's Rights convention was held.
"We have purchased the Seneca Knitting Mill, which is a beautiful iconic building here in Seneca Falls," said Moulton.
"There's not that much left, physically, of our industrial heritage, but probably the most prominent bit of evidence is the Seneca Knitting Mill building," said Caracillo.
Preserving the past of Seneca Falls right in the heart of the town and making it pretty easy to discover ...or re-discover the past. All you have to do is take a walk down Fall Street to see much of it.
For more information about the Seneca Falls Historical Society or the National women's Hall of Fame visit: www.sfhistoricalsociety.org and www.greatwomen.org.