Fire Damaged Susan B. Anthony House May Reopen For Tours Next Wednesday

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ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – The Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester is hoping to reopen for tours next Wednesday, October 6.

That’s after a fire that destroyed the building’s back porch early on Sunday morning.

The museum shop remains open during regular hours (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at the visitor center at the building at 19 Madison St.

Most of the fire damage was contained to the porch, and none of the historic artifacts in the 19th century building were damaged.  The house was built in 1859. Suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony moved into the home in 1865 and died there in 1906.

The president and CEO of the museum, Deborah Hughes, said that even though the damage from the fire last Sunday was pretty much limited to the back porch, professional cleaners are still working to eliminate any odor of smoke inside the building.

“So trying to determine how much exposure we have in the house, there was not much. But you’d be amazed how a little bit of smoke can make a lot of smell. So we’re going through that process and determining which things need to have conservator attention. We have had air scrubbers in the building for a while,” said Hughes.

Hughes said it has not been determined yet if that porch was of historic significance.

“We’re trying to discern if the porch that had to come down was built during Susan B. Anthony’s time or a little bit later than that,” said Hughes. “We actually saved some of the charred remains so that if we are rebuilding the porch to look as it did, we’ve got the exact pieces to work with to replicate the cornices and all that.”

The fire last weekend is considered suspicious, and investigators from the Rochester Fire Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives are looking into it.

Officials are looking at surveillance camera video that showed someone on the back porch of the building at the time of the fire.