Posted by: daynamcdowell | June 22, 2010

Day 12-The Never Ending Day. . . .

Monday, June 14, 2010—Day 12

     This was the day of the never ending bus ride and a push for punctuality!  All those tour guides expecting us, a large group, to be perfectly on time and to stay together like a flock of sheep?  This expectation made for a long, rushed day which could not be helped. . . there is so much to experience in upstate New York!  Our day started with a long bus ride to reach Seneca Falls from Oneonta.  We must have ridden through more than half the state of New York!  What a beautiful state, once we had left New York City behind.  Such contrasts for the senses and the soul!  I greatly enjoyed these contrasts. 

     Our first stop in western New York today was Seneca Falls, the location of the first women’s rights convention in the US.  The visitor center contained information and displays that expanded upon the bare bones information shared by our guide.  It was here that I learned of a “Woman’s Bible” written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  In it were scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments that Stanton analyzed and debated as limiting to women.  I had never heard of this book before, but now a huge reason for the hatred and venom that people had toward these women’s rights activists became crystal clear!  They were fighting not only societal norms but even more importantly, religious beliefs that had been set in stone for thousands of years.  Testing religious beliefs is like playing with a lighter in a room full of gunpowder.  Someone is eventually going to get blasted!  These women were truly brave to stand against the norms of society for equal rights.  I was so intrigued by this “Women’s Bible” that I bought one so that I could analyze Stanton’s interpretations of selected Bible passages on my own.

     Other sights of the women’s rights day (at which Patterson and Henderson rolled their eyes) included a stop at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton house in Seneca Falls and the McClintock house in Waterloo.  The Stanton house was smaller than the McClintock house, yet both housed a limited amount of furniture.  It was interesting to see how simply these women lived.  Unfortunately, the Chapel was undergoing renovations and we were unable to see the church building where the Seneca  Falls Convention was held and where the Declaration of Sentiments was designed and signed.  Another stop in neighboring Waterloo was the Harriet Tubman house.  Due to time constraints and the arrival of a busload of noisy middle schoolers, viewing her house was accomplished quickly.  Though Tubman owned her own property, her wooden framed home was small just like Stanton and McClintocks’ homes.  Another bastion of civil rights, Harriet Tubman is definitely a woman to teach about when teaching civil rights and the slavery amendments. 

     The next stop was the William Seward home.  This mansion was quite the contrast from the homes of the women previously visited.  What a man’s world it was then!  There were books in every room, elegant furnishings, and gifts from dignitaries.  Seward, secretary of state for President Lincoln and negotiator for the Alaska purchase, definitely demonstrated his power and influence through his home.  Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures.  The most historically significant room to me was the hallway located upstairs where photos of dignitaries were hung on the walls.  I would have liked more time to examine all of them.  There was quite an assortment of Seward’s possessions on display in the house as well.  Even his bloody bed sheet from the assassination attempt was on display in the house.  Again, this mansion was quite the contrast from the Stanton, McClintock, and Tubman homes.

     The best part of the day was the Erie Canal boat ride, which in my opinion was worth the push for punctuatlity.  What a soothing end to a long, hectic day!  The ride on the water seemed to pacify quite a lot of tired people.  Seeing the flora and fauna of upstate New York was a feast for the eyes.  Watching firsthand how the canal locks operate was impressive.  It was something that a landlocked Coloradoan does not normally experience.  This canal ride gave me time to think about applying canal technology to a geography lesson.  Canals definitely changed both physical and cultural geography, affecting not only rivers and lakes but also the economics and culture of communities through trade.  This canal ride was definitely a positive end to a day packed with constant activity and a long bus ride.

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