Susan B. Anthony Museum and House (17 Madison Street)
Notice the big horse chestnut tree in front of 17 Madison. This tree was a favorite of Susan B. Anthony’s, and it is believed to be more than 150 years old. It has presided over this historic location as tens of thousands of visitors have come to be inspired by Susan B. Anthony.
The Italianate-style house at what is now 17 Madison Street was constructed around 1860 by local dentist Husted C. Wanzer. In 1864, Guelma Anthony McLean, Susan B. Anthony’s older sister, rented the home with her husband and children. The following year, the McLeans were joined by Guelma’s mother, Lucy Read Anthony, and sisters Susan B. and Mary S. Anthony. Lucy Read Anthony purchased the home in 1866. She would live here with two of her daughters, Susan and Mary, until her death. Before she died, she sold the house to Mary.
This modest brick home is where Susan Brownell Anthony lived for forty of her most politically active years, from 1866 until her death (here at home) in 1906. There are many memorable and historic events and people connected to this House. Susan B. Anthony was arrested in the front parlor in 1872 for the crime of voting as a woman, and much of The History of Woman Suffrage was written here.
With Susan B. Anthony’s election as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1892, the family home became the headquarters of the organization. The Anthony sisters raised the roof and added the third floor for “the cause”.
After Mary and Susan died, the house was sold and it went through several private owners. In 1945, it was purchased by the Rochester Federation of Women’s Clubs to create a memorial to Susan B. and Mary S. Anthony. In 1966, it was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Secretary of the Interior. What started as the Susan B. Anthony Memorial is now the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House.