Tenafly Railroad Station Dedicated to Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Tenafly Railroad Station Dedicated to Elizabeth Cady Stanton

On Saturday, May 18, in the heart of Tenafly, the community came together to honor its overlooked history by dedicating the Tenafly Railroad Station in honor of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The celebration included numerous speakers, one of whom was Coline Jenkins, the great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the co-founder and president of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust. Other attendees of this ceremony included a member of NOW (National Organization of Women), a member of the League of Women Voters, Tenafly’s mayor, a Board of Education representative, Mr. Morrison, the Tenafly Historical Preservation Commission (including the head, Thorin Tritter), Emily Yang, Julie O’Connor, and Venugopal Menon. Furthermore, much of the APUSH class from Tenafly High School came to watch the event to learn more about Tenafly’s history, which overlaps with American historical themes such as women’s suffrage. Many APUSH students will confirm that through his Box of Justice questions, Mr. Hegarty has drilled in the fact that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a women suffragist who lived in Tenafly. Thus, on May 18, 2024, history was again made as the past became intertwined with the present of Tenafly to honor the often unspoken history of our town.

Emily Yang, a Tenafly resident and member of the Tenafly Historic Preservation Commission, participated in the ceremony. She currently resides with her family in the Elizabeth Cady Stanton house in Tenafly. As someone who has lived in Tenafly her whole life, she grew up appreciating the historical building despite not knowing much of the history behind it. When Yang and her family decided to move into the Stanton home, they worked on maintaining and restoring the building while simultaneously modernizing the inside to bring it up to date with plumbing and electrical work. Taking on the role of being the home’s caretaker came with much responsibility; however, there is beauty in knowing that history was made within those four walls that still stand today.

“A house can only live if it is maintained,” Yang said. “One thing I like is how this house was here before us, and the house will be here after us. We are just taking care of it for a little while. We are just part of the story.”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton resided in Tenafly in the 19th century. She owned a house, now occupied by Emily Yang, under her own name. When it was time to vote, the “voting wagon” came to pick up the man of the house but found Stanton instead. She declared herself a US citizen and property owner, asserting that she would go vote in the place of her husband. However, she was denied at the election place, which at the time was the old Valley Hotel. She would not live to see the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, but she was instrumental to its passing; she was the principal author of the Declaration of the Sentiments, a women’s rights document presented at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. She would live the remainder of her life asserting the main theme of that document: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women were created equal.” Stanton used the Tenafly Railroad Station to help spread that message. She used the station as a means of travel to go give lectures in nearby towns. The station also delivered her fan mail. However, despite her pivotal role in the women’s rights movement and Tenafly’s history, many residents remain unaware of who she is. This is why events such as Saturday’s dedication ceremony are important: they help educate Tenafly residents about their town’s history.

One of the most surprising and inspirational facts about the Stanton dedication ceremony was how it was inspired by the actions of a New York middle school student prior to COVID-19. The student came to visit his grandparents in Tenafly, and through his visit, questioned why the Stanton history wasn’t more recognized within the community. Through his persistence in speaking with board members and the Tenafly Historic Preservation Commission, Stanton was able to receive appreciation for her work towards women’s rights. This goes to show how anyone can make a difference in their community; it just takes bravery to make that first leap.

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About the Contributors
Kailyn Cho
Kailyn Cho, Senior Staff Writer
Kailyn Cho ('25) is excited to be a Senior Staff Writer for The Echo. She enjoys playing tennis, traveling around the world, and chasing sunsets.
Sophia Lee
Sophia Lee, Guest Writer
Sophia Lee ('25) is an avid reader, tennis player, and foodie. She's excited to write for The Echo.