Welcome to The Freethought Trail!

The Freethought Trail locations map
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In the 19th century, West-Central New York was a hotbed of social, political, and religious innovation. Fayetteville suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage called religion the enemy of women. Writing from Elmira, Mark Twain raised irreverence to an American art form. At Ithaca, Andrew Dickson White co-founded Cornell University, the nation's first secular institution of higher learning. In 1848 reformers and freethinkers of every stripe thronged Seneca Falls to demand new roles for women. Corning native Margaret Sanger led the 20th century birth control movement. The birthplace museum of the famous orator, political speechmaker, and outspoken agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll is an anchor of West-Central New York's "Freethought Trail".

The Freethought Trail is a collection of locations in West-Central New York important to the history of freethought. Sites can be browsed by location, by name, by cause, and by type of site. Each site is described in words and in photographs, and directions are provided from one Freethought Trail location to another, so anyone who wants to can make their own path along the multitude of sites on the Trail!

The Freethought Trail can be navigated in four ways:

  • By Cause: Freethought Trail locations sorted by the cause that was fought for with the actions at each location.
  • By Name: Freethought Trail locations sorted by the name of the person associated with each site.
  • By Location: Freethought Trail locations sorted by the city/town in which they exist.
  • By Type of Site: Freethought Trail locations sorted by what one can expect to experience at each site.