Dress Reform Convention Site

This 1857 map of Canastota, New York, shows the location of the Dutch Reformed Church (red arrow). The site is now a small municipal park. Image courtesy Joe DiGiorgio.

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Type: Unmarked Location Involved: Walker, Mary Edwards; Smith, Gerrit; Stanton, Elizabeth Cady
Location: 224 South Peterboro Street
Canastota, NY
Cause: Dress Reform

The first significant dress reform convention was held in Canastota on January 7 - 8, 1857. The National Dress Reform Association (NDRA) held the convention at the Dutch Reformed Church (organized 1833), then located on Peterboro Street by the railroad tracks. NDRA founder James Caleb Jackson presided. Speakers included Gerrit Smith of nearby Peterboro and Dr. Mary Edwards Walker of Oswego. A supportive letter from Elizabeth Cady Stanton was read to the convention.

The 1833 church site was abandoned in 1878 due to increasing noise from the New York Central Railroad. The church moved two blocks north to a site on Center Street; the church reorganized in 1886 and became the Presbyterian Church Society.