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New York State Heritage Area

Seneca Falls and its Historical Significance

In 1982, the Urban Cultural Park System was created by New York State to create state-local partnerships in an effort to preserve places of significance. Four years later, the Urban Cultural Management Plan for Seneca Falls was approved. In 1994, legislation was amended to include heritage areas and the program was renamed New York State Heritage Areas. The established Heritage Areas were designated based on historical themes which resonated in each select regional area.

Heritage Areas vary from Historic Districts in that they incorporate natural, cultural, historic, and recreation areas, instead of simply the built environment. The State seeks to combine these four elements into a “cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography. These areas tell nationally important stories about our nation and are representative of the national experience through both the physical features that remain and the traditions that have evolved within them.”

As one of the first 13 heritage areas created, Seneca Falls earned its place in history for its natural and man-made resources in addition to it being the setting of the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848. The Seneca Falls Heritage Area includes a classic main street and portions of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. It also features the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, a National Park Service site which includes the Stanton House and Wesleyan Chapel, site of the 1848 Convention and birthplace of a movement that continues today.

Seneca Falls Heritage Area Boundary