Work Starts To Save Seneca Falls Knitting Mill

Women worked there for more than 150 years. One day women will be honored there. 

The National Women's Hall Of Fame is taking the first steps to renovate the former Seneca Knitting Mill which sits along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal in Seneca Falls. 

The Women's Hall of Fame took title to the building last summer about the same time it was condemned by the Seneca County Building and Code Enforcement officials.

Last month the first step in saving the 169-year old mill building was erecting a fence around the mill property.

   All Photos by Greg Cotterill, Finger Lakes News Radio.

In 2006, then U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton was interviewed by ABC's Nightline on plans for the old mill.

 

The President of the Hall of Fame board of directors is Beverly Ryder of Los Angeles.

 

Ryder says she is unsure what the overall cost of the project would be. The Town of Seneca Falls has a $2.5 million Restore New York grant, which has to be matched.

The buildings all need extensive rehabilitation.  Birds currently enjoy the view from inside and outside the mill.

 

 

Ryder says a national campaign is under way to raise the restoration funds, which she estimated at “several million dollars.”

 

The Knitting Mill was owned for over 40 years by the Souhan family. In 1995 the mill was sold to Ridgeview, a North Carolina manufacturer of rugged outdoor and heavy-weight casual socks.  Ridgeview closed the Seneca Falls operation in 1999.  At the time the mill has 160 hourly and salaried employees.

The Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 and has some 247 inductees so far. Nine more American women, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, will be inducted later this year.

 

Ryder said the rehab project will give the museum more space for exhibits than it has now.

 



“We want this to be a center for great women,” she explained. “A gathering place for women from all over the world, a place to empower young women.”

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