Historic Seneca Falls, New York

  • Located in the Northeast section of the United States in central New York State, Seneca Falls is nestled at the north end of the picturesque Finger Lakes Region.  An industrial center in the mid-1800's, Seneca Falls was a gateway for canal-way shipping and travel across New York, connecting the Great Lakes to the Saint Lawrence and the Atlantic.

    By 1818 canal locks were built along the Seneca River, allowing boat traffic to avoid the rapids.  By 1828, the Cayuga-Seneca Canal had been linked to the Erie Canal, making transport of raw materials and finished goods easier and opening up the much larger market for items manufactured locally.  On March 26, 1829, the Town of Seneca Falls was organized.  Industry was attracted to Seneca Falls by the rapids along the Seneca River and potential waterpower they implied.  Tanneries, distilleries, mills, and factories of all types sprung up along the river.

    The area originally known as Mynderse Mills officially became the Village of Seneca Falls when it was incorporated on April 22, 1831.  As early as 1841, the Rochester-Auburn railroad system opened the door to the world market for goods manufactured in Seneca Falls.

    Seneca Falls was also gaining a reputation for social and religious reform.  Abolition of Slavery and the Underground Railroad, the Temperance movement and women's rights were among issues supported by local residents.  On July 19 and 20, 1848 the first Convention on Women's Rights was held at the Wesleyan Chapel on Fall Street in Seneca Falls.  It was organized by Jane Hunt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Ann M'Clintock and others.

    Seneca Falls remained an industrial village well into the 20th century as the home of Gould's Pumps, Sylvania and Seneca Machine.  In recent years Tourism has become the major industry in Seneca Falls.  The Women's Rights National Historical Park including the site of the first Women's Rights Convention and the Elizabeth Cady Staton House, the National Women's Hall of Fame, the Seneca Falls Historical Society, the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry and the Seneca Falls Heritage Area Visitors Center as well as local wineries, the Finger Lakes and beautiful scenery of the Central New York all attract visitors to the Village of Seneca Falls.  The Village has recently received attention as the likely inspiration for the fictional village of Bedford Falls in Frank Capra's holiday classic movie "It's A Wonderful Life."

    Currently the Village of Seneca Falls is comprised of 9347 residents with an almost equal percentage of Men and Women.  Seneca Falls has warm summers with an average July temperature of 60-81 degrees Fahrenheit and brisk winters with an average January temperature of 14-32 degrees Fahrenheit.  They have normal annual snowfall of 60 inches.


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