Political junkies flocking to Rochester to see historic Women’s Rights sites

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — Rochester is becoming a destination for those interested in politics as thousands of people are heading to the area to pay respects to one woman.

“Some people say this region is the cradle of the women’s rights movement,” said Deborah Hughes, the CEO/President at the Susan B. Anthony National Historic Museum.

Along Madison Street in Rochester, sits an 18th century house – the home Susan B. Anthony lived in for years.

“It was the headquarters when she was president of the movement; the house she was arrested of voting in 1872; the house where she died.”

The rooms smell like hardwood and dusty books. It includes replicas and original pieces important to Susan B. Anthony during her tenure as Suffrage president and throughout her lifetime.  Her clothing – including her signature alligator purse and a silk dress – is still intact and on display. The wallpaper has been technologically recreated to resemble what was in the house centuries ago.

The site receives more than 10,000 visitors each year; 55% of whom come from outside of the New York region.  Hughes says they’re already seeing more people coming through the doors than in the past.

“There’s growing interest in the suffrage movement and women voting,” said Hughes.

The reason —

“There’s something about an election in 2016 and women running for political positions,” quips Hughes.

“The women’s vote plays a big role in this election,” said Karen Small, from Buffalo.

She’s visiting the Susan B. Anthony home with her daughter and a few of their friends.

“It’s super empowering for me to show my daughter and girls in the community that can be anything they want to be,” said Small.

“The work she was invested in was creating a democracy that was about freedom, justice and opportunities for every human being,” said Hughes, highlighting the areas Anthony focused on.

Susan B. Anthony died in 1906 – before the 19th amendment’s ratification and long before a woman was a presidential nominee for a major party.

“Susan B. Anthony was one of the founders of our ability to stand up and be heard in a political conversation,” said Cathy Meecham, Atlanta, visiting Rochester and the Susan B. Anthony grave site.

One-hundred-ten years later, her grave site is a shrine as people from all over are journeying to this historic place as a historic election cycle comes to a close.

“We’ve come a long, long, long way and it’s powerful,” said Hughes.

Meecham walks by, looks at century old tomb, and audibly says “Thank you, Susan.”

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