Not many Americans realize the vital role upstate New York women played in the fight for women’s right to vote. Visit their homes and learn their story.
On March 30, 2009, President Obama signed the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act, which included the “Votes for Women Trail” Act. The new legislation allows the National Parks Service to create a trail linking the historic sites connected to the Suffrage Movement in upstate New York. Residents of upstate New York are hoping that the new trail will not only educate the public about the suffrage movement, but also increase tourism to the Finger Lakes Region, and help boost the upstate economy.
The sites to be included in the trail have not officially been selected yet, nor the signage fully posted, but travelers don’t have to wait to visit the sites.
A few of the major sites up for consideration that one can visit are the:
- Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged
- Harriet Tubman Home
- Susan B. Anthony House
- Matilda Joslyn Gage Home
- Women’s Rights National Park
Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, Auburn, NY
Harriet Tubman, known for her leadership on the Underground Railroad, is lesser known for her support of the women’s suffrage movement. Tubman became the “Moses of her people” helping over 300 slaves escape from slavery. She became friends with Susan B. Anthony, who was active in the abolitionist movement and even helped hide slaves at her house. Later, Harriet Tubman, like Anthony, supported women’s rights, and kept the issue alive in Auburn. Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged is today a museum dedicated to Tubman’s life. It is located at 180-182 South St. in Auburn, NY. Call first to make an appointment: 315-252-2081.
Harriet Tubman’s home is owned by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church of Auburn and is open to visitors Tuesday through Friday from 11 AM to 4 PM, and Saturdays by appointment. Extended hours are available in February (Black History Month).
Susan B. Anthony House, Rochester
Susan B. Anthony made history when she was arrested for voting in the Presidential election of 1872. Travelers can visit her house, which was the site of her arrest. The bedroom is much as she might have decorated it with her original furniture. The second floor is a museum dedicated to the women’s suffrage movement. The Susan B. Anthony House is located at 17 Madison Street, Rochester, NY. Tours are available.
Matilda Joslyn Gage House, Fayetteville
Most Americans have never heard of Matilda Joslyn Gage, but she worked closely with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organizing the suffrage movement, having meetings in her home, and speaking publicly for the cause. Tours of her home are available by appointment. Call (315) 637-9511. The house is located at 210 E. Genesee Street, Fayetteville, NY.
Women’s Rights National Historic Park, Seneca Falls
Women’s Rights National Park in Seneca Falls, NY features four buildings where Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and other female civil rights leaders organized and conducted the First Women’s Rights Convention in 1848. The featured site is the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who wrote The Declaration of Sentiments, which was read at the Seneca Falls Convention.
Although the “Votes For Women” Trail is not fully complete, a visit to the the Finger Lakes Region in upstate New York , where women organized the movement to fight for their rights is well worth the trip.