The historic heroes of Rochester, New York


© George Eastman Museum

For a city of its size, the community of Rochester, NY, packs a surprising punch when it comes to having a rich history filled with progressive figures who would go on to change the world. After all, this city on the Genesee River can lay claim to abolitionists and equal rights advocates like Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, and the pioneer of modern photography, George Eastman.

Susan B. Anthony was a leading champion for women’s rights in the U.S. In her lifetime, she fought for women’s right to vote, own property, access to education, and fair pay wages. She was also a strong Abolitionist, working alongside her friend Frederick Douglass. In 1872 she was arrested in her home for voting in that year’s presidential election. Today visitors can visit the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House and hear her incredible and inspiring stories.

© Jim Montanus

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass spent 25 of his most productive years in Rochester. Douglass, an escaped slave, published the abolitionist newspaper The North Star, and assisted Harriet Tubman in the dangerous work of helping slaves escape via the Underground Railroad.

It is nearly impossible to look around Rochester today and not see a place, organization or institution that benefited from George Eastman. Plan on a visit to the George Eastman Museum to learn more about how Eastman changed not just Rochester but also the world. Eastman was the founder of Kodak, where he invented the first flexible film camera, which made photography available to the masses.

Explore more of Rochester’s history on your next visit with a trip to the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, George Eastman Museum, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Mount Hope Cemetery, and many other stops. Go to to learn more.

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This metropolitan region situated on the southern shore of Lake Ontario is also part of New York’s breathtaking Finger Lakes region. Known for its vast selection of family-oriented activities and attractions, Rochester hosts nearly two million visitors each year.


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