The Hotel Nester stood at Exchange and Franklin Streets in downtown Geneva. It served as the headquarters hotel for two significant woman suffrage events. (Nineteenth-century practice was to use the singular, woman or woman's, when referring to women as a class; later practice was to use the plural, woman or women's.)
The New York State Woman Suffrage Association (NYSWSA) held its twenty-ninth annual convention on Wednesday through Saturday, November 3–6, 1897. The statewide convention was organized by Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter, Anne Fitzhugh Miller, at the invitation of suffrage activist Harriet May Mills. Isabel Howland, of the prominent abolitionist Howland family of Sherwood and a college classmate of Elizabeth Smith Miller’s, served as treasurer of the convention. Susan B. Anthony was one of the principal speakers. Business meetings took place at the Nester, while sessions open to the public were held at Collins Hall and the Smith Opera House, use of which was donated to the conference by its owner, the pro-suffrage Geneva entrepreneur and philanthropist William Smith.
The Hotel Nester hosted the first (non-public) event of the convention—a meeting of NYSWSA's Executive Board, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 3—and the convention's final (non-public) event, an Executive Board meeting that began at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 6.
Ten years later, the NYSWSA convention returned to Geneva. The thirty-ninth annual event was held on Tuesday through Friday, October 15–18. Speakers included Harriet May Mills and nationally prominent suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw. Once again, the Hotel Nester served as the convention headquarters hotel.
The Building and the Site. In later years, the Nester was renamed the Seneca Hotel and began to decline. It was razed in the 1980s and replaced by the high-rise senior citizen apartment building that occupies the site today.
November 3–6, 1897
October 15–18, 1907