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Seneca Falls Wedding Resources (more information)

The Old Seneca Falls Knitting Mil
Early History

The region was in the domain of the Cayuga tribe and visited by Jesuit missionaries in the 17th Century.

American Revolution and aftermath

The Cayuga were allies of the British and attacked American settlements from the outset of the revolution. The Sullivan Expedition of 1779 was sent to destroy native villages and kill the warriors. After the war, the village and surrounding land became part of the Central New York Military Tract, land reserved for veterans of the war. The north end of Cayuga Lake was set aside as a reservation for returning Cayuga tribal members. The early village

The first pioneers arrived around 1787. The early settlement was called "Mynderse Mills" after early settler and land owner Wilhelmus Mynderse.

When the village was first incorporated in 1831, it was named after the series of small falls and rapids on the Seneca River which drains Cayuga and Seneca of the Finger Lakes. The river was partially canalized for navigation in 1818, and connected the lakes with the Erie Canal in 1828. The village was re-incorporated in 1837, 1860, and 1896 with new charters. The New York State Barge Canal project in 1915 eliminated what remained of the rapids, canalizing the entire river and building a pair of locks to replace the three smaller locks which had made it possible for boat traffic to pass through the village.

The falls were also the cause of the village's existence, providing water power for mills, distilleries, tanneries, and other factories. By the mid 19th Century, Seneca Falls was the third largest flour milling center in the world, after Rochester and Oswego. There is still a small hydroelectric power generating station a little upstream.

A young man, Birdsall Holly, moved to Seneca Falls from Auburn to work as a mechanic in one of these mills. His son, Birdsall Holly Jr., was entranced by the water power, studying hydraulics and mechanics until he became one of the foremost American inventors. Holly became a partner in the Silsby Company, also called "The Island Works." While working for this company, he obtained his first patent, which was for a rotary water pump. He later removed to Lockport, New York, where he continued inventing, but his work with pumps was continued by Seabury S. Gould Sr. who cast the first all-metal pump and founded Gould Pumps, a worldwide pump manufacturer, which still maintains its headquarters and a major factory in Seneca Falls.

While working for the Silsby Company, Holly also developed the rotary steam engine. This technology was married to the pump technology and was utilized in making the first successful steam fire engine. The Silsby Company eventually moved to Elmira, New York and became American LaFrance, famous for its fire engines.

The Village of Seneca Falls has played a prominent role in the Women's Rights Movement. It was the residence of Amelia Bloomer, who popularized a dress reform in her newspaper The Lily which became known as bloomers, a design believed to be influenced by native women of the area. In addition, Abolitionist causes against slavery were popular in the village.

Early Feminist leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott with Martha C. Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Jane Hunt, organized the first Women's Rights Convention, also known as the Seneca Falls Convention, held here in 1848 at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. A "Declaration of Sentiments", drafted by Stanton, was adopted which included support for women's suffrage. Frederick Douglass, a former slave and publisher of a Rochester New York abolitionist newspaper, attended the convention. His support for the women's suffrage resolution was instrumental in its passage. Nearby Waterloo was the planning location for the convention, which is commemorated by the Women's Rights National Historical Park in the two villages.

In July 1923 the National Women's Party celebrated the 75th anniversary of the 1848 Seneca Falls convention with a pageant and pilgrimage to Susan B. Anthony’s grave in nearby Rochester. Alice Paul presented the draft of the Equal Rights Amendment, referred to as "the Lucretia Mott Amendment", for the delegates’ approval at the general conference held at the First Presbyterian Church in Seneca Falls.

The National Women's Hall of Fame was established in Seneca Falls in 1969. It honors American women for their contributions to society.

The first woman mayor of Seneca Falls is current Mayor Diana M. Smith, first elected in 2004 and re-elected for a 2nd term in 2008.

Points of Interest

New York Chiropractic College
Finger Lakes Regional Airport
Trinity Church


Montezuma Winery
Swedish Hill Vineyard and Winery

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