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Auburn's Harriet Tubman Home anticipates more visitors following $20 bill announcement

Tom Magnarelli
Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn.

The Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn is anticipating more tourists will visit after the announcement that Tubman will be featured on the $20 bill. This adds excitement about the home being turned into a national park.

The Harriet Tubman Home was actually used by Tubman as a place where she took care of the elderly or anyone who needed a place to stay, which was fitting for the woman who lived life selflessly. For more than 10 years she risked her life making many trips to free enslaved African-Americans during the mid-19th century.

Tourist Annie Hart of Geneva said some of the items in the Tubman Home, remind her of where she grew up in the south.

“She thought about others, I love that about her,” Hart said.

Mary St. Laurent made her first visit to the home after the $20 bill announcement was made.

"I grew up in Auburn so I heard about Harriet Tubman," St. Laurent said. "It was said my father had seen her. I just learned a lot more. She's a very impressive lady, it's nice to know that short ladies can be so strong."

Rev. Paul Gordon Carter is the manager of the property and gives tours of the home and was excited to hear Tubman was going to be put on the $20 bill.

“I pretty much said, ‘Hallelujah, it finally happened,’” Carter said.

He said it will increase the number of visitors to the Tubman Home and the surrounding area.

"It means economic explosion for those people that have restaurants and hotels," Carter said.

The home is also going to be turned into a national park, although the U.S. government is still reviewing the purchase.

“Transitions are happening even as we speak, it’s just not trickled down into this area as of yet,” Carter said.

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is pressuring the Justice Department to hurry the process.

The $20 bill will give a new generation more opportunities to learn about Tubman’s history including eleventh-grader, Chandler Mann from Stockbridge Valley.

“Seems like a long time coming," Mann said. "It’s about time we get more people in there than just the founding fathers; there was more than just them that built the nation.”

The U.S. Treasury anticipates the final concept designs for the new $20 as well as $10 and $5 bills to be unveiled in 2020.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.