Seneca Falls residents are getting ready to welcome the newest members of the National Women's Hall of Fame for their historic achievements.
The hall has been located in a former bank building on Fall Street for decades, but a new location will open early next year in the former Seneca Knitting Mill along the Canal in Seneca Falls.
“It’s so small, and you’re not able to really get a grasp of who these women were,” said Betty Bly, a businesswoman and resident of Seneca Falls. “I’ve very excited about them. I think it’s a great class for inductees this year.”
The Seneca Knitting Mill renovation project has been in the works since the hall bought the building in 2007.
Organizers decided the hall needed more space.
"The first things people will see is the exhibits when they walk in the front door," said Kate Bennett, president of the board of trustees of the National Women's Hall of Fame.
A successful fundraising campaign netted $9 million, including funding from the private sector, the state and the federal government.
"We needed a new roof, and windows needed to be recreated, and we needed to work with the state historic preservation board to make sure that this building looked the way it should look, standing on the Seneca, Cayuga canal,” Bennett said.
The first floor is nearly completed. Once finished, there will be four floors dedicated to telling the stories of the women who worked at the Knitting Mill.
"The mill is a fascinating story in itself where the women of Seneca Falls had jobs, it gave them opportunity for their future," Bennett said.
The new hall is expected to welcome visitors by spring 2020.
"This is a place that will become a pilgrimage for people who want to know stories about great American women," Bennett said.