covid-19 statement

The Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark (GSENHL) buildings in Peterboro NY will be closed for the 2020 season due to COVID19. The exterior exhibits on the grounds of the Estate will remain open each day from dawn to dusk for persons practicing social distancing and respecting the properties. GSENHL management encourages people to take a fresh air walk of as many steps as possible around three acres of the landmark as they engage with spaces where enslaved persons found freedom and abolitionists walked and talked. Exhibit signage describes the buildings and the people in those buildings during the 19th Century.

Visitors are invited to take a picture of themselves on the national landmark and send it to with names to demonstrate that “I FOUND PETERBORO!”- and permission to place the picture on the website – if you would like it to be included on this site.

The Estate can provide field lessons for home history classes by bringing notebooks, sketchbooks, pens, crayons, and phones for assignments! The Gerrit Smith Estate is a site on the Madison County Freedom Trail, one of two National Historic Landmarks in the county, one of twenty-two sites on the Heritage NY Underground Railroad Trail, a founder of the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State, and an early designation to the National Park Service Network to Freedom, the national Underground Railroad path.

Visitors are encouraged to peek through the laundry window to imagine Harriet Tubman sipping coffee with Viney Russell on one of Tubman’s trips, to stroll in the yard where John Brown walked with Gerrit Smith making plans to destabilize slavery in the South, to touch the door casement where the horses from the stable passed on their way north, to stand at the mansion site where Elizabeth Cady met Henry Stanton, and to feel a brick that Frederick Douglass may have touched on his many entries to the Land Office to get social and monetary support from Gerrit Smith.

The Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark updates:

  • Sat. June 13th Peterboro Freedom Festival is postponed to Sat. June 12, 2021.
  • Sat. August 1st Emancipation Day is postponed to Sat. August 7, 2021
  • Sat. September 26th Bloomer Tea is postponed two years to Sat. September 24, 2022 which is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Elizabeth Smith Miller, the advocate for the healthy bloomer.

At this time, the Gerrit Smith Estate intends

  • to hold the planned Bell Ringing nineteen times on Equality Day August 26 at 6:19 EST to celebrate the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in the United States.
  • To launch a year’s celebration on Sunday, September 27 2020, of the Smithfield Community Center in recognition of the building’s two hundred years

Some of these 2020 programs were funded in part by Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Peterboro Mercantile is undertaking a make-over but can still take online orders for books, buttons, jewelry, magnets, stationery, tee shirts, and other articles related to Peterboro.

For more information:,, 315-280-8828