Work will allow future reuse of Washington County property
Purchase agreement reached for adjoining historic property to provide improved access, parking
On the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced an effort to stabilize and preserve the childhood home of prominent 19th century women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony. The work at the 1832 two-story brick home on Route 29 in Battenville (Washington County), where Anthony lived from ages 13 to 19, includes repairs to the roof, masonry and drainage, as well as mold remediation and water damage. It is expected to be complete by September.
"New York has been the birthplace to many of the progressive movements that have left an indelible mark on our society while pushing the nation forward – and particularly for women's suffrage, which began at Seneca Falls and included legendary New Yorkers such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and so many more," Cuomo said. "As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, we must also recognize there is more work to be done. New York will continue to lead the nation in creating greater equality for all and we are proud to preserve and enhance this important part of American history for future generations."
"On the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, this development will stabilize Susan B. Anthony's childhood home in Washington County, allowing for the reuse of the property," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "While the Susan B. Anthony House and Museum in Rochester showcases the history of one of the world's greatest revolutionaries, this project will further preserve Anthony's legacy in New York state. As the birthplace of the women's rights movement, New York was the first major state to grant the right to vote in the country, leading the way for the 19th Amendment. As we celebrate the centennial of women's suffrage, we still have more work to do to achieve true equality and justice. Now more than ever, we must embrace this time to continue to fight for real change."
This year is also the 200th anniversary of Anthony's birth, in 1820. The child of a Quaker family that promoted abolition and temperance, she lived in Washington County, in Battenville, and later in Center Falls, from 1826-45 (between the ages of 6 and 25), before her family moved to Rochester.
Cuomo also announced the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which is managing the $695,000 stabilization project, has reached a purchase agreement on an adjoining four-acre site that contains a former historic tavern dating to the period when the Anthony family lived next door. Supported by the state Environmental Protection Fund, the $130,500 purchase will allow for future creation of adequate parking for the Anthony home and serve as a staging area for continued phased redevelopment of the building for an as-yet undetermined future use.
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "Part of our mission is the preservation of our state's historic legacy. The home where Susan B. Anthony spent her formative years has a story to tell and we want to get the home in the proper condition, so it one day is able to tell it."
The stabilization project is supported by a $250,000 grant obtained by state Assembly Member Carrie Woerner, and the remainder from New York Works; support was also obtained by State Sen. Betty Little.
The Battenville home was built in 1832-33 by Anthony's father who had moved the family from Adams, Massachusetts, to manage a cotton mill on the nearby Battenkill River. At the age of 13, Anthony joined the Easton Society of Friends. Her family lost its home in 1839 due to financial setbacks caused by a national financial recession in 1837. The former family residence was in a state of disrepair by the time State Parks purchased it at foreclosure for $1 in 2006.
Anthony, who died in 1906 at age 86, worked for decades to advance women's rights, but did not live to see the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. She is buried in Rochester.
Little said, "To have played a small role in preserving this unique part of the history of Susan B. Anthony's life truly is a privilege. It is my hope that in doing so we are helping assure that the magnitude of her accomplishments, her courage and her unwillingness to yield in the face of enormous obstacles will never be forgotten. As we commemorate the centennial of women's suffrage this year, we celebrate the life of this remarkable woman who recognized that the ideals enshrined in the U.S. Constitution are, in fact, a call to action to be better individuals and to be a better nation."
Woerner said, "I am beyond proud to see the Susan B. Anthony House in Greenwich receive funds from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to continue the restoration process on this historic home. In addition to a $250,000 grant my office secured, the funding from NYSOPRHP has provided the means to repair and maintain the infrastructure of the home. Susan B. Anthony's contributions to our nation through the women's suffrage movement are crucial pieces of history, and on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment I am pleased to see her homestead in Washington County brought back to life for countless generations to visit and learn from. The dedication and relentless passion of local community leaders have been essential in the restoration of this historic property and I am glad to continue to lend my support to this project."
State Parks oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails and boat launches, which were visited by a record 77 million people in 2019. A recent university study found that spending by State Parks and its visitors supports $5 billion in output and sales, 54,000 private-sector jobs and more than $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit parks.ny.gov.