Seneca Falls’ National Women’s Hall of Fame has been named a finalist in the annual Partners in Preservation: Main Streets grant program.
The $2 million grant program is sponsored by American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Main Street America and National Geographic. Partners in Preservation: Main Streets is a community-based campaign to raise awareness about the importance of preserving America’s Main Street districts.
The campaign emphasizes Main Street communities around the U.S. and their positive local impact. Since the program’s inception in 2006, Partners in Preservation has awarded more than $19 million in support of more than 200 historic sites across the country.
The National Women’s Hall of Fame will vie with 19 other Main Streets across America for grants to rehabilitate the town’s 1844 Seneca Knitting Mill, the organization’s long-awaited new home. The new hall ultimately will include the entire four-story mill building as well as its annexes and exterior grounds. Officials estimate the new facility will more than double the Hall of Fame’s yearly attendance, currently between 8,000 and 11,000 visitors.
In addition to its larger size, the 1844 Mill was selected because of its unique relevance to Seneca Falls’ and women’s rights history. The mill, which primarily was staffed by women, closed in 1999. It is located on the Erie Canal, south of Women’s Rights National Historical Park.
In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and 300 others gathered in Seneca Falls for the first Women’s Rights Convention. The convention is considered the catalyst for a movement that led to the 1920 passage of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote.
The Partners in Preservation: Main Streets grant program through Oct. 26 will allow the community to vote on the projects they want to see funded. The program is designed to raise awareness of work happening across the U.S. to revitalize main streets and neighborhoods in small towns, mid-sized cities and urban centers.
According to Main Street America, $4.48 billion was reinvested in Main Streets across the country. More than 8,700 buildings were rehabilitated and more than 30,000 jobs were created as a result.
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