The George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation was established as a not-for-profit historical society in 2005 to meet the growing demands of preservation, restoration and maintenance of 930 James Street, the original home of George and Rebecca Barnes.
The Foundation assumed the title to the estate from the Corinthian Club in 2009, and has ever since been devoted to its goal of enhancing access to the rich narrative of the Barnes-Hiscock Mansion to ensure that the public can examine and interpret the significance of this historic home and its occupants.
This historic mansion was built by George and Rebecca Barnes in 1853. Their home was a center of civic-minded activity in our community. In honor of their leadership and commitment to the people of Central New York, the Foundation has been established in their names.
This house was a gathering place for such notables as Rev. Samuel Joseph May (who actually presided over the marriage of George and Rebecca); Garrett Smith; Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her husband, Henry.
George was a lawyer, an industrialist and an entrepreneur, who had a social conscience. Along with other prominent Syracusans, such as the Sedgwicks, Wilkinsons, Amoses and Hiscocks, he paved the way for change that can still be felt today. He and his wife, Rebecca, were active with the Syracuse Orphan Society and had many fine gatherings for the children in the gardens that once surrounded this beautiful home.
George and Rebecca Barnes were dedicated abolitionists and often placed themselves in danger to help a slave flee to safety. The mansion played a key role in the abolitionist movement in Syracuse, and has been recognized as one of the stops along the Underground Railroad, Freedom Trail. George and Rebecca held many meetings in the house and oral history supports that they hid slaves during their long journey north, often having them hide in the basement and carriage house until safe passage could be found.