Here we will be posting various photos of the inside and outside from the Becker Mansion. Over the 172 years, this magnificent Mansion has gathered so many stories, artifacts and archives that each photo will have not only some interesting fact about your history but it will also tease you in just how beautiful this 23 Room Victorian Mansion is. Hope you enjoy seeing i, as much as we do. Stop by for a visit and get a tour of the Mansion..

Research Library.

Stop by to get a tour of the Mansion weekdays from 10am – 3 pm, tours begin on the hour or by special arrangement. Any questions in setting up a tour please call 315-568-8412.

Todays feature in the Mansion is part of the Research Library on the second floor. Community members and residents from all over the globe have called on research and genealogy that we have provided them.

The picture here is of some very old books from Harpers Pictorial History of the War of Spain to House Documents to photo albums. The books are so old that they needed to be tied so that they would not come apart and to use these books you have to use gloves to handle them. Gloves are supplied

There are many research books in the Library dating back to the 1800’s, many extraordinary books of history in our possession that are  definitely worth taking a look at sometime.

Anyone is invited to do research in our Library or call with inquiries. The library and facilities are provided free of charge to our members, nominal charges apply to non members.

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Victorian Mansion Steeples

Copper Sink.

Because the windows are so high the local birds like to nest under the window steeples, and they like to sit on the windowsills.

Stop by to get a tour of the Mansion weekdays from 10am – 3 pm, tours begin on the hour or by special arrangement. Any questions in setting up a tour please call 315-568-8412.

 

This is a view of our spectacular Victorian Mansion steeples and third floor windows. The third floor was added on by Mrs. Ellen Partridge, who began extensive remodeling and updating which finally resulted in the 23 room Queen Ann style Victorian dwelling we see today. Ellen Partridge hired Rochester architect James Gould Cutler for the renovation. The Architectural and decorative details b Mrs. Partridge include the square niches throughout the house, painted stained glass window, gas lights, the blond oak woodwork in the dining room a main entrance and the cherry woodwork in the rest of the house, the carved fireplaces, and the 3rd floor. There re 19 stain glass windows in the entire house. Construction on the house was completed around 1885.

 

Today we are showing you part of the Butlers Pantry at the Seneca Falls Historical Society. Of course the Butlers Pantry served several purposes including final food preparations before serving in the Dining Room.

This photo is of the original copper sink that was used in the Mansion in the 1800’s. The sink has a marble top surface that is in very good condition. It is a beautiful sink that was used by families that resided here. Surrounding the sink are several items that we have collected through the years from donations in the area.

Stop by to get a tour of the Mansion weekdays from 10am – 3 pm, tours begin on the hour or by special arrangement. Any questions in setting up a tour please call 315-568-8412.

 

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Gas Lights.

Main Staircase.

Drawing Room

Dining Room

To see the entire house please visit the Historical Society. Tours are from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm daily.

Here at the Seneca Falls Historical Society, Becker Mansion in the later 1800’s when Edward Mynderse built the Italianate Home and then later was renovated by Eleanor Partridge, gas lights were used throughout the mansion.

Gas-light technology was developed in England a century earlier and first used to light a public street in London in 1807. It spread to other countries over the next ten years or so; in 1816, Baltimore was the first city in the United States to light its streets with gas.

Gas lighting in homes was introduced in the early 19th century and came into widespread use in homes in the 1880s. Edison perfected the lightbulb in 1879, and electric lighting became the norm throughout the U.S. in the 1930s.

Over the years the Becker Family retrofitted the Chandelier lights to utilize electricity. The original lights are still hung in the Becker Mansion today. They are some of the most decorative and beautiful lights you will see in this area.

If you are interested in seeing this and much more, call or come in and take one of our guided tour of the Becker Mansion. Tours are daily from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

The Main Staircase at the Becker Mansion is a magnificent example of the late 19 Century carpentry skill.

With 6 landings ( the photograph was taken from the 3rd Floor and 5 of the landings can be seen with the checker board) winding its way to the 3rd floor, this spectacular structure greets you as you enter the Mansion. A total of 34 steps (17 steps with three landings  between each floor), each landing has intricate hand inlay work with the feature being a full sized centrally located checkerboard. The story is told how the children would play checkers on their way to bed. The 3rd Floor was where the children slept, the 2nd floor was the Main sleeping and bathroom area.

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Fireplace Charm.

Ross Marvin's Navy Uniform.

This is one of many fireplaces here at the ‘Becker Mansion’ Seneca Falls Historical Society. There are 9 fireplaces at the Becker Mansion, this fireplace is in Mrs. Becker’s bedrooms on the second floor. In the Becker Mansion there is a fireplace in every room except for the kitchen, butler’s pantry and there is only 1 room on the third floor with a fireplace.

Fireplaces in the 1800’s were used daily to keep the houses warm.

The rooms were heated by open coal fires and lighting was provided by candles and oil or gas lamps. Later in the Victorian period, electricity became more widespread.

Early Victorian fireplaces had floral patterns in the iron casting but by late Victorian times the iron fireplaces were plainer with simple lines. Cheaper homes had mantels made of wood or slate and had them painted to look like marble to impress visiting guests.
Victorian houses were originally built with no insulation and very little protection from the cold or heat.

It would be seventeen years before the truth (or a well-concocted lie) would come out. Danish missionary Jens Olsen was preaching at Karnah in 1926 and his prayer meetings were well-attended. One of them saw Inuksutoq and Kudlooktoo attend and, when Olsen asked if anybody in the crowd wanted to confess their sins, Kudlooktoo stunned all concerned by standing up and saying:

“Ross Marvin did not die because he drowned, but because I shot him.”

There is still controversy regarding the real causes of Marvin’s death!!

The blue sailor’s middy belonged to Ross Gilmore Marvin, who was an Arctic explorer who took part in Robert Peary’s 1905–1906 and 1908–1909 Artic expeditions. He was chief scientist (an astronomer) and the first assistant to Commander Peary and of the successful North Pole expedition in which he lost his life under some mystery.

As told in Commander Peary’s dispatch to The New York Times, he was drowned on April 10 forty-five miles north of Cape Columbia while in command of the supporting part, yet the mystery does not end there, it was reported that Marvin “died at age 29 on one such expedition in April 1909 succumbing to either the thin ice and Arctic waters or to a rifle bullet fired by a slighted Eskimo, depending on the account.”

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Edward Eugene Lay Jacket.

Mr. Norman Becker's Bedroom.

It is March Mansion Wednesday!

This week we are featuring a black suit jacket owned by Edward Eugene Lay.

Here at the Historical Society, we have several pieces of clothing that families have donated to us and we keep for display or in our extensive clothing room storage.

Born: January 13, 1877  Tyre, NY
Died: August 3, 1963  Seneca Falls, NY

Wife:
Alice Emma Hollister Lay    1890-1974

Children:
Ruth E. Lay    1913-1966
Helen Addelia Lay Strong    1915-1995
Virginia Eloise Lay Waldron    1917-1997
Janice Lay    1919-1972

Parents:
Edward Lay   1839-1924
Delia Freer Lay   1842-1923

 

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I n the bay area of the room there is a rocking chair and also the desk that once belonged to Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Mr. Becker had his own bathroom connecting to his bedroom. The bathroom was originally an entrance to the upper porch. In the 19010’s it was converted to a bathroom. The bathroom floor is a giant jig say puzzle. The bathroom marked the start to the Master and Mistress suites, and had two doors, one leading into the hall and the other to Mr. Becker’s bedroom.

To see the entire house please visit the Historical Society. Tours are from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm daily.

This week we are featuring Norman Becker’s Bedroom.
Good Victorian couples did not share the same room. There is a walk-through connecting to Catherine Becker’s room.

The four-poster bed was donated by the Sackett family. It was brought over from England c. 1940, it is a rope bed, reminiscent of those used in inns across teh early colonies. The saying “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite” referred to these beds. The best thing that could happen to a traveler was that he or she got to sleep in a bed that had just been tightened and had freshly washed sheets, since early traveler’s were not as hygienically meticulous as we are today. Note the medallions on the bed poster. That would slide to insert a rod used to tighten the ropes, which tended to sag after many uses.

Every room in the mansion has a fireplace to keep warm.

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Catherine Becker's Bedroom.

The Parlor.

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Catherine Becker’s Bathroom and Dressing room appears much as it was in 1905, when the original 1880 plumbing fixtures were replaced with ceramic.

To see more of the Victorian Mansion please come for a tour.

Tours are from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm daily.

This is Catherine Becker’s room on the second floor of the Mansion.

Catherine Becker’s room is the grandest of all bedrooms in the Mansion with an adjoining dressing room and bathroom. This forms the remainder of the master and mistress suites.

The hand-painted tiles around the fireplace opening are possible the finest in the houses.

The bed was made in Philadelphia, Pa c. 1855
The carpet dates c. 1885.
Unusual lady’s desk is American, C. 1885
Desk is from 1865

Over the bed is a portrait of Frank Chamberlain and his wife, Celia Tyler Chamberlain, Seneca Falls residents, artist unknown. Given by their daughter, Mary C. Chamberlain, 1912. Frank Chamberlain was the eldest son of Jacob B. Chamberlain.

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The light fixture is the original gas burning lights that were used in the mansion.

The parlor displays a stereoscope to observe.
The organ is a Reed Parlor Organ or pump organ, built in 1902, the organ was a wedding gift.

To see more of the spectacular rooms here at the Becker Mansion we have daily tours from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

Today we are featuring our Parlor here at the Seneca Falls Historical Society, Becker Mansion.

The parlor was used for everyday living, like our family rooms or dens today. Family would gather here for evenings alone around the fire. These rooms (including the dining room) have sliding doors (pocket Doors) which could be used for privacy, if desired.

Wallpaper is a reproduction of a paper from the 1880’s.

Black couch in the back is made of horsehair. Desk was the the original desk that Mr. Becker sat at. Mr. Becker’s picture is on the organ and a picture of the 4 of the six children.

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Archive Room.

Family Tree.

Archives-Room

It’s time for 2021 Mansion Wednesday to start. This new year we are starting with our Archive Room here at the Seneca Falls Historical Society, Becker Mansion. Often, we have the community and people from different states and even people from other countries asking for us to research family genealogy. We have a room full of photos and documentation. We have helped 100’s of family members connect with the past.

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The Gift Shop is the first room you enter when visiting the Becker Mansion. In this former library/den you begin to see and feel the grandeur of this place. It is from here you begin your tour and it is also where you can purchase local history books suitable both for adults and children, along with an eclectic collection of books on a wide range of topics. A collection of jewelry, ornaments and interesting items can also be found here for purchase.

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Festive Season Ready
Dining Room.

Family Tree.

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The drawing room is one of the most spectacular rooms in the Mansion. This where the family would gather for large events and the women would withdraw to after a meal and the men would gather in the parlor or library. Imagine all the glamor, elegance and decorations during these parties and evenings back in the 1890’s.

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In the main hallway, adjacent to the main staircase of the Mansion, what has become a tradition in recent years, the ‘Family Tree’ is positioned here. The Family Tree is beautifully decorated with pictures of known and unknown families. Every year the pictures are chosen randomly from our enormous photographic archives.

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Drawing Room Christmas.

Humpty Dumpty Circus.

Dining-romm-Dec

I thought we would take you through the ground floor of the Mansion and show you all of our festive decorations for this year.!

This picture here shows our exquisite dining room and Christmas tree, which is 12′ tall and completely decorated top to bottom. Also here is a full 10 set table with Christmas dishes, plates, glasses and napkins.

It surely is a spectacular space in our 23 room Victorian Mansion. Please stop by to see, it is so worth it! Merry Christmas everyone!

Don’t forget to stop by for a look and a tour. We are open Mon.- Fri, 9-4.

11-25-20a-circus

However, Delevan’s toys still survive. Upon his death in 1971, Delevan donated his collection to the Seneca Falls Historical Society, where it remains on display to this day.

The Humpty Dumpty Circus was an American-made toy line first created in 1903 by the Shoenhut Company in Philadelphia, PA. The Humpty Dumpty Circus offered a wide variety of jointed wooden figurines of performers and animals, as well as accessories such as tents and acrobat equipment. In 1950, Nelson B. Delevan- a retired engineer who founded the Delevan Manufacturing Co. in De Moines, IA- acquired the license to make the Shoenhut toys and created the Delevan Toy Company in Seneca Falls.

Unfortunately, Delevan’s toy company did not last long. With the arrival of the Korean War and the growing popularity of plastic toys, most took little interest and the Delevan Toy Company was forced to close in 1952.

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Foot Powered Scroll Saw

Dining Room Fireplace.

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Foot Powered Scroll Saw that we have in our industry room on the third floor.

The “Empire” was the first large saw offered by Seneca Falls Mfg Co., introduced in 1884. The “Victor”, introduced two years later, used the same “walking motion” foot pedals and 24″ flywheel. These two machines, unlike most of the other treadle scroll saws of that era, were designed for heavy work in furniture factories and pattern maker’s shops. Much heavier than the Barnes machines, these were the ultimate foot power machines of the late 19th century.

Fireplace-in-Dining-room

This Fireplace is located in the dining room of the 23 room Victorian House, The Becker Mansion.

This fireplace was constructed during the renovation by Eleanor Partridge between 1880 – 1890 before the Becker Family purchased the home. The wood around the fireplace is Vanilla Wood. Eleanor Partridge loved sunflowers and within the woodwork and marble of the fireplace are beautifully carved sunflowers, a design feature throughout the Mansion.

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The Hoag Children

Hair Wreath.

Mr. Milton Hoag, Vice President of the Exchange National Bank of Seneca fAlls, Has been on of the representative business men of the place for nearly a half-century. A native of Montgomery County, N.Y., he was born July 29, 1830. His father, John I. Hoag, who was also a native of New York State,he  was a lawyer by profession, and died in Canajoharie, Montgomery County, when in his eighty-fourth year. Nathan Hoag, the grandfather, was born in this state and was of the Quaker faith. John I. Hoag married Sarah Combs, who was born in New York, and was a descendant of the “Jersey Blues.” She died in Montgomery County, near the Palentine Bridge, that spans th Mohawk River. They were the parents of ten children, nine of whom attained years of maturity. Milton Hoag was the eighth in the family of John I. Hoag.

Hoag-Children

In February 1851, he came to Seneca Falls, and entered the employment of his brother, Delavan, who was a member of the firm of Adams & Hoag, rectifiers of whickey.  At he expiration of three years he purchased the business, which he continued alone, being very successful. After purchasing several properties over the years in this area. One of his properties he bought, was the Hoag Hotel better known today as the Gould Hotel. Mr. Hoag was married to Rosa A. Finnegan, of Seneca Falls, and by this union he has two bright little daughters, Irene E. and Ethel M. which are pictured here. The picture is in our children’s room on the third floor of The Becker Mansion.

This item is a Hair Wreath. Originally, hair wreaths were made from the hair of deceased loved ones as an honor and remembrance, and the strands placed at the center. As another family member died, their hair would be placed into the center, and the previous lock would be moved to the outside. Hair is one of the most unique and personal mementos people can give of themselves. Although taking hair and weaving it into memorial pieces has been done for hundreds of years as a way to remember a loved one, it was the Victorians who took the idea and crafted it into an art form. The Victorians had elaborate customs for any life event encountered; but this is one tradition that could take different shapes and forms. Hair jewelry allowed Victorians to carry a part of their loved ones with them in the form of bracelets, rings, brooches, watch fobs, even buttons: It was similar to putting a piece of hair in a locket. Hair from a deceased family member was usually made into a mourning wreath for remembrance.

Hair-Wreath 10-28-20

A mourning wreath could be made up of one member’s hair or a composite of an entire family. As family members died, hair was saved in a “hair receiver.” When enough was accumulated, the hair was fashioned into flowers and leaves by twisting and sewing it around shaped wire forms. The open-end at the top of the wreath symbolized the deceased’s ascent to heaven. Wreaths were then placed in shadow boxes and displayed with the open end up, like a horseshoe.

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Mary's Room

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3rd Floor Hallway

This room is the room of Mary Merrigan the maid that lived in the house and took care of the six Becker children. Her room is quite lovely with two stained glass windows and her own bathroom.

Mary was brought from Ireland to take care of the family. She lived here until she had to go into a nursing facility because of dementia. One evening the family was in the Mansion sleeping and Mary appeared at the bottom of their bed. Mary was in the nursing home and they didn’t know why she was at the mansion, so they called the nursing home and said, “Did you know Mary left the nursing home and is here with us?”, they told them that Mary had died an hour before that.

There is another story that an employee while working heard loud noises coming from the third floor. She called her brother because she was scared. He came with a recorder and went to the third floor where Mary’s room was. He opened Mary’s bedroom door and turned the recorder on to tape through the night and see if they could hear anything.

Mary's-Room

In the morning when they came back, they listened to the recorder and heard a woman say with an accent, “Excuse me, you just hit me with the door”. When they opened her door the day before Mary must have been behind the door, so they say…..The employee quit her job that day. Other employees have heard dishes clanging in the kitchen on various times and no one is in there.

This is a picture of one of the Hallways on the Third Floor going into the children’s playroom. The Wall features pictures of graduates from St. Pat’s School and Mynderse Academy dating back to late 1800. Several people stop here to glance at the pictures and find out what year one of their late family members graduated.

There is a story of this Hallway that visitors where looking at the pictures and they saw a couple with old clothing on looking at the pictures. They came downstairs to tell the director how nice it was to see people come here dressed up from back in the day many years ago. The director said that no one else was in the house but them and her.

Visit us at the Becker Mansion Monday through Friday and get a tour of the three floors and see how you fall in love with the home.

creepy-hallway

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Creepy Doll
(One of Many)

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3 Panelled Stained Glass Windows

This is one of many dolls that were at the Becker Mansion when it was purchased. This could have been a doll that the Becker family children played with at one time. We have a room full of just Dolls at the house. Some say they look creepy and when they walk by this room they move rather quickly., it just freaks out the visitors.

But, a doll is a figure of a human being (or sometimes of an animal) used most often as a children’s toy, in magic and religious rituals. There are documents that prove that dolls were use in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. They were made from materials that were available like clay, stone, wood, bone, ivory, leather or wax… There is also archaeological evidence that dolls were oldest known toys. Porcelain doll (or so-called bisque doll) is a doll that is wholly or partially made out of bisque porcelain, a type of porcelain that is unglazed and matte. Bisque dolls were the most popular from 1860 to 1900 in France and Germany and became fashionable after china dolls who have glazed texture.

creepy-doll

The head of the doll is always made from bisque but body is made of cloth, leather, wood (with joints), papier-mâché or composition, which is a material made of pulp, sawdust, glue, cornstarch, resin and wood flour. Eyes of dolls are made of glass. Head is painted in many layers in order to get skin tones and facial expressions. Through the 18th and 19th century, dressing up dolls gave little girls the opportunity to learn to sew or knit.

These stained glass windows are one of 19 stained glass windows in the Becker Mansion. The windows were put in when Ellen Partridge renovated the Mansion from 1880-1891. The windows represent, The Morning Dove, The Afternoon Peacock and The Evening Bat. They are spectacular to see in person. We have had many people take pictures and just are mesmerized by the windows. One of the prettiest of all the 19 stained glass windows in the mansion.,

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Grace Woodworth's Camera

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Children's Room

In the center of the room you see the large camera. This was owned by Grace Adelle Woodworth. Grace Adelle Woodworth was born in Seneca Falls on March 17,1872 and died in 1967. She attended Mynderse Academy where she graduated in 1890. Photography came naturally to Woodwoth. She first worked for a photographer in Batavia doing retouching work. Other photographers loved her work. At 25 she started her own studio in Union Springs. At the time woman were rarely seen as a photographer. She carried her camera and equipment everywhere she went. In 1899 Grace bought the Rochester photography gallery on main st. She took several photos of children and woman. In 1911 she moved back to Seneca Falls.

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Grace Woodworths most famous photographs were from her 1905 series of suffragist Susan B. Anthony and Anthony’s sister, Mar.y Woodworth was commissioned by the Rochester Political Equality Club to photograph the Anthony sisters. These photos celebrated Susan B. Anthony’s 85th Birthday. We have a picture of Susan B. Anthony at the Mansion that Woodworth took.

Stop by the Mansion to see the camera and picture of Grace Woodworth.

This photo is the children’s room on the third floor of the Becker Mansion. You can see various toys that the children played with. Some of the toys included are: Dolls, Tidley winks, Kitchen sets and tea sets, Rocking Horses(made with real horse hair) and a large hand made Doll House representing the Becker Mansion.

It has one of the most beautiful stained glass panels in the Mansion and a perfect replica dolls house of the Mansion itself.

The children’s bedrooms resided on the third floor with the maid and this made it convenient for the kids to play. It is a beautiful room that includes a stage where the children often performed for their parents.

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Catherine Becker Bedroom

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White House Tea Set

This bedroom, is where Mrs. Catherine Becker resided every evening. Mrs. Becker was the wife of Mr. Norman Becker a local banker in Seneca Falls. Together they had six children. The room has a gorgeous view of the yard and the sunlight coming through the windows in the morning is fabulous. It’s one of our favorite rooms of the house. You can see her attire was laid out for her to wear most likely by her maid. An Elegant, high-ceilinged room was found here in the bedroom and throughout the mansion. A beautiful fireplace is at the far end of the room. You can imagine it would take quite the fire to keep that room warm and many of the rooms in the winter. Adjoining Mrs. Becker’s bedroom is her own dressing room and bathroom. The rug that is under the bed dates back to 1890’s.

Mrs Becker Bedroom

This Tea Set is called the “White House Tea Set“. This tea set is in our drawing room of the mansion. The tea set on the tea table was used in the White House. The set was purchased by James Monroe (1817-1825) for the White House from France and was used until the 1860’s when Mary Lincoln decided that she wanted a new tea set. This set was given to Secretary of State William Seward, who happened to be a very good friend of Judge Garry V. Sackett here in Seneca Falls. The tea set was given to the Seneca Falls Historical Society by descendants of Judge Sackett.

The White House has asked for the set to be returned but so far we still have it on display..

White House Tea set

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