The Town of Seneca Falls, NY is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes region on the northern shore of Cayuga Lake. We are proudly known as the Birthplace of Women’s Right and the inspiration for the setting of It’s A Wonderful Life.
The region is the former realm of the Cayuga tribe, who were visited by Jesuit missionaries during the 17th century. Cayuga villages were attacked and destroyed by the Sullivan Expedition of 1779 in retaliation for plundering and killing new colonists.
The region became part of the Central New York Military Tract, reserved for veterans, after the conclusion of the American Revolution.
A canal was completed in 1818 allowing transit between Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake. This canal was connected to the Erie Canal in 1828.
The town was established in 1829 from part of the Town of Junius. The community of Seneca Falls in the town set itself apart by incorporating as a village in 1831.
The Seneca Falls Convention held July 19–20, 1848, was the first women’s rights convention organized by women explicitly for the purpose of discussing women’s rights as such.
On March 16, 2010, the people of the Village of Seneca Falls voted to dissolve the village into the Town of Seneca Falls, effective in 2012.
LEG 1: ACTIVITY (choose one)
Body of Water – Cayuga Lake
Start/End Point – Cayuga Lake State Park
Cayuga and Seneca Canal
The development of the Cay-Sen canal trail has been under consideration and planning for over five years. When it is completed, it will run from the lakefront in Geneva to Waterloo, Seneca Falls and then to the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. The majority of the trail will be off road, following the Cayuga/Seneca River. At the present time, people may use the trail that travels along the lakefront in Geneva through Seneca Lake State Park. Also there is a section of trail called the Ludivico Heritage Trail that is available in Seneca Falls that follows the canal.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton House
Home of the women’s rights leader, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Open for guided tours by National Park Service rangers.
It’s a Wonderful Life Museum
Seneca Falls is widely believed to be the inspiration for Frank Capra’s holiday classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Come to Seneca Falls and visit the village and locations that inspired Mr. Capra in his visits to Seneca Falls in the early 1900’s. Stand on the bridge that Jimmy Stewart’s character leaped from in the movie. Visit in December to take part in the weekend festivals that celebrate our connection to the holiday classic.
Montezuma Wildlife Refuge
Montezuma Refuge serves as a major resting area for waterfowl and other waterbirds on their journeys to and from nesting areas in northeastern and east-central Canada.
National Women’s Hall of Fame
Immerse yourself in the lives of great American women while viewing artifacts and special exhibits. Learn more about the Hall’s Inductees at our research center, home to a library and archival materials. Join us every other Fall as we celebrate the achievements of new Inductees during our Induction Weekend.
Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry
The Seneca Museum celebrates historic Seneca Falls, Seneca County, and the Finger Lakes region of central New York State. The Museum illustrates how the Seneca River and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal powered the rise of industry and fostered cultural development, helping to spread social reform movements.
Women’s Rights National Historical Park
Operated by the National Park Service, the Park preserves the sites associated with the 1848 First Women’s Rights Convention.