Saturday, October 1, 2016

Seneca Falls

I am now in the Finger Lakes area of New York state. I'm at Cayuga Lake State Park which is on the north end of Cayuga Lake. We are talking a 38 mile long lake. Twice a day Miko and I walk down to the shore and Miko tries her luck at wave-catching.

Women's Rights National Historic Park
I don't know what happened here in the mid-1800s, but this area was a hotbed of progressive thinking. This is where some of the modern day greats lived and it was from here that they changed the landscape of the U.S. I am talking about five women who got together and worked for Women's Rights. The first Women's Rights Convention took place in Seneca Falls in 1848. To imagine how this changed the social and economic fabric of our country is unbelievable. Remember, back in 1848, women could not own property, women had no rights to their children, they could not vote or sign contracts, husbands and fathers directed every aspect of their lives.

Five women whose names should be remembered:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Lucretia Mott
Mary Ann M'Clintock
Jane Hunt
Martha Coffin Wright

came together and presented a Declaration of Sentiments which was based on the Declaration of Independence. This Declaration was the foundation of many of our common rights we enjoy today. I found this very moving, maybe because even though I knew most of the status of women, it was brought home to me how bad it was, how far we have come and how far we have to go. These women were brave beyond belief. 

The Suffragist Flag: Purple is the color of loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause. White, the emblem of purity, symbolizes the quality of our purpose; and gold, the color of light and life, is as the torch that guides our purpose, pure and unswerving

Life size statues of The Movement Leaders - notice Frederick Douglass is there

Fun fact: One of the prominent woman who joined the movement was Amelia Bloomer, who edited a temperance journal called The Lily. In 1851, bloomers became all the craze among progressive fashionistas.

1851 Bloomer Craze

Seneca Falls is built along the Cayuga-Seneca canal and the town has put a nature trail along the banks. They have also added sculptures which I guess makes it an art/nature trail. I didn't care much for the sculptures, but by going to go do the trail, I came across “The Bridge”.

Seneca Falls also claims that it is the inspiration for the movie “It's A Wonderful Life” staring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. The bridge figures conspicuously in the movie.

True story: a young woman through herself off this bridge trying to commit suicide. A young Italian immigrant, Antonio, saw this, pulled off his jacket and jumped into the freezing water. He reached the young woman and brought her toward shore where another man on shore grabbed the woman and finished bringing her to dry land. As soon as the man on shore grabbed the woman, Antonio slipped beneath the water and drowned. Every year, the town celebrates Antonio's sacrifice. The town was so grateful that they raised funds to bring the rest of Antonio's family over from Italy to the United States.

Frank Capra comes to town and hears this story. He was developing a movie based on a book called “The Greatest Gift”. There are so many coincidences between Seneca Falls and the movie that Seneca Falls calls itself the Real Bedford Mills. They also have an excellent museum called funny enough – It's A Wonderful Life Museum”. They take each of the actors, discuss their role in the movie and then talk about what happened with the rest of their career. I probably spent a couple of hours there. 

It's A Wonderful Life Bridge - Don't Jump George Bailey, Don't Jump!!!

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