Susan B. Anthony Childhood Home to Receive $700,000 Makeover
As was recently reported in Smithsonian Magazine and other publications, the Susan B. Anthony Childhood Home in Battenville, New York, will soon receive much-needed repairs. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which owns the home, has announced that it will spend up to $700,000 to improve its condition in the coming year. The funds will initially be used to stabilize the distressed property, focusing on repairs to the roof and chimneys, and on efforts to enhance drainage and combat a persistent mold problem.
The timing of the announcement was auspicious. The year 2020 marks the 200th anniversary of Anthony’s birth and is also the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote (an occasion that TCLF is marking with other programming initiatives).
New York State Senator Betty Little and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner both played key roles in securing a large portion of the funding for the initiative. “There’s no question that Susan B. Anthony’s formative childhood and early adult experiences growing up in Washington County, New York, were instrumental in the forging of social and political views that led to her being one of our state’s and nation’s most consequential figures,” Senator Little told TCLF. “Preserving this home, which is on the national historic register, is important to me and many others. The timing certainly is fitting as we celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage this year.”
Assemblywoman Woerner told the Times-Union that she would like to see the historic property in the care of a resident curator, “someone who loved old houses and would spend the time finding just the right wood or other materials to restore the house.”
The Susan B. Anthony Childhood Home was included in TCLF's Landslide 2018: Grounds for Democracy, a thematic compendium that highlighted threatened cultural landscapes throughout the nation that are key to remembering, contextualizing, and interpreting the struggles for civil and human rights in the United States. The thirteen-year-old Anthony moved to the Battenville residence with her family in 1833 and would live there until 1839, when they were forced to sell the home in the wake of a major national recession. After passing among several owners, the property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. As the National Register nomination states, “The time Susan B. Anthony spent in Battenville during this period left a profound imprint on her, and as such the nominated house remains an exceedingly important historic resource chronicling this period of her life.”