The township of Geneseo was established in 1789, and has become the business and cultural center of the area. James and William Wadsworth first settled the valley as land agents for their uncle, Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth, Commissary General of the Revolutionary Army under George Washington.
The U. S. Department of the Interior listed the entire length of Main Street on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. This Historic District was extended to include most of the old part of the center of the village and was listed on the National Register in 1985. In 1991 the U. S. Department of the Interior designated Geneseo a National Landmark Village.
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At the junction of Main and Center Streets is the Wadsworth Memorial Fountain, designed by the world famous architect Richard Morris Hunt. It is made of red granite from the Bay of Fundy quarries. It was erected in 1888 by William A. and Herbert Wadsworth in memory of their mother, Emmeline Austin Wadsworth. The bear was designed by the famous French sculptor Antoine Louis Barye.
66 Main Street, the Bank, was built in 1864 from plans of Rochester architect A. J. Warner. Italianate architecture and the additions have been sympathetic in style.
46 Main Street, The Big Tree Inn, originally called Big Tree Lodge, was built in 1833 as a home for Geneseo banker Allan Ayrault. In the late 1880’s it was transformed into an inn of international note. In 1974 it was saved from demolition by efforts of the newly formed Association for the Preservation of Geneseo. Residents and visitors have enjoyed the restaurant for many years. In the summer of 2005 the Inn opened 8 rooms for guests.
38 Main Street, originally the Livingston County Bank, Geneseo's first bank, was built by Allen Ayrault in 1830. It has undergone changes over the years the roof overhang extendedand the brick and limestone details painted.
32 Main Street, the Charles Colt house, was built in 1818 by Charles Colt, a successful merchant, promoter, and leader in many civic enterprises. Details of the entrance are featured in Colonial and Post Colonial Details by Carl Schmidt.
26 Main Street, the Benjamin Angel house, was first built in 1825. Angel, a diplomat who served as American Consul in the Sandwich Islands, rebuilt the residence following a serious fire in 1845. The house was again enlarged in 1882 and the second story porch was added in 1921.
22 Main Street, the Turner-Young house, is a typical brick dwelling of the affluent farmer-merchant of the mid-1880¹s. Later as the home of Samuel Fraser, expert orchardist, the house was altered with extended bracketed eaves and the addition of a porch and a dormer.
20 Main Street, the Brodie house, was built in 1874 by William Brodie, a newspaper reporter and land agent for the Wadsworth farms. This is an outstanding example of Italianate Victorian architecture with mansard roof, gable roof, and tower with finial.
16 Main Street, the Elizabeth Allen house, was built in 1889. It is an interesting example of the frame Victorian castle with its mansard roof, gable roof, and tower with finial.
14 Main Street, was built about 1825 by Chauncey Morse. This is a fine old house with nicely detailed doorway. The heavy Spanish tile roof which is foreign to the house and others in the area was a later addition. William Kelsey lived here from 1853-1879.
Livingston County Court House, is at the north end of Main Street. The front section was built in 1898 from plans by Claude Bragdon. A building of classic design and detailing, the facade has remained unchanged despite several additions to the building.
Hartford House, north of the Court House, is a fine Palladian house of traditional floor plan. It was built in 1835 by James S. Wadsworth from plans given to him by the Third Marquis of Hertford in England. The third floor of the center block and the library wing on the south were added later. Please do not enter the driveway. A good view of the house can be had from Route 39, about one-quarter mile north.
St. Mary's Church was built in 1889, a traditional upstate Gothic Church, constructed of brick and Medina stone. Particu-larly noteworthy is the rose window which is illuminated at night.
The Civil War Monument, in a small park, is a 40 foot granite shaft given in 1915 by the Hon. James W. Wadsworth, Sr. A smaller stone bears the Gettysburg Address.
1 Main Street, Wadsworth Land Office building, built in 1835 by James S. Wadsworth, remains to this day in the Wadsworth family.
15 Main Street, was built in 1897 by Judge Edward Coyne after plans by Claude Bragdon. Now owned by the State Uni-versity College at Geneseo, it serves as the official residence of the College President.
17 Main Street, later the Young house, is thought to be one of the oldest houses in Geneseo. It was built about 1816 as a four room house with a central chimney and four fireplaces.
23 Main Street, St. Michael's Church, built in 1866, is constructed of brick and native limestone. It is considered a fine example of an early English Victorian church. The chapel wing and rectory were added later.
29 Main Street, later, the Bishop House, was built before 1815. This is one of the older clapboard houses in the village and was the Presbyterian manse from 1866-1888.
31 Main Street, the Jacob Hall house, was built about 1816 by Samuel Butler. For years it was the residence of Jacob Hall, successful harness maker. Windows on the Ward Place side have been replaced and reduced in size and the eaves have been extended. Notice the brick pilasters on the Main Street facade.
Turn left on Ward Place and walk to Second Street
33 Second Street, was begun in 1830 by Melzar Alvord and renovated in 1861 by Alvenus Cone. Further changes were made in the 1870¹s by his son, Joseph.
31 Center Street, Central Presbyterian Church, was built in 1939-40 on the site of the former church which was destroyed by fire. The architect was A. G. Lamont and the contractor was Warner Spitz Construction Co. of Rochester, NY
24 Center Street, Wadsworth Library, was provided for in the Will of Gen. James S. Wadsworth and erected in 1867 after plans drawn by C. N. Otis of Buffalo. Italianate in style, it is constructed of Buffalo pressed brick with base, quoins, sills, and caps of Lockport cut stone.
26 Center Street, was build in 1852 by the Methodist Society. In 1886 it was enlarged and extensively altered to the present style. The new steeple tower contained the 2,700 lb. bell used in case of fire and the clock became the official village clock.
28 Center Street, is now the Church Parish Center to 26 Center Street. The east wing, built in 1834, was the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Geneseo¹s first library; built by pioneer James Wadsworth, who is recognized as the father of public libraries.
30 Center Street, Union School, now the Livingston County Museum, was built in 1838, as a District School on land granted by the pioneer brothers, James and William Wadsworth. Con-ditions of the grant provided that it forever be used for educational purposes. This is a good example of cobblestone construction.
50 Center Street, the McBride house, is a reproduction of a colonial cottage designed by Robert Sherlock and built in the mid 1920¹s. It won a national award for the best house in its cost range.
71 Center Street, was built in 1862 by James Orton, local bank president. This is another example of Italianate architecture. The porch on the left as well as the small porch to the right of the door were added about 1906.
81 Center Street, was originally a one and one-half story house. At one time it was the home of Lockwood L. Doty, author of the History of Livingston County; at another time, the home of Craig Wadsworth, diplomat, sportsman, and amateur steeplechase rider.
Highland Park, on Highland Road, is the location of the former Erie Railroad Depot which was moved from Court Street to this site in 1976. It was built in 1875 and now serves as a recreation building and meeting site for local organizations.
85 Center Street, Cornerways, was designed by Robert Sherlock and built in 1927-1929. This was originally the home of Mr. and Mrs. William P. Wadsworth and is a fine reproduction of a post-colonial house.
Temple Hill, so called because it was the site of Geneseo's first house (temple) of worship, contains a unique grove of hard woods which are zealously protected. At the corner of Center Street and Temple Hill is a watering trough cut from stone a reminder of Geneseo¹s horse and buggy days
Temple Hill Academy was built in 1827 as the Livingston County High School. The building was converted into a residence in 1908 by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Colt. It is beautifully preserved today.
39 South Street was built about 1820 for William Bond, a local merchant, by Master Carpenter Frederick Butler.
17 South Street, reputed to be the oldest house in the village except for the original part of the Homestead, was built in 1808 by Colonel Joseph Lawrence, Geneseo¹s first blacksmith.
75 Second Street was built in 1874 by Judge James B. Adams. It recalls an Italianate villa with its tower and asymmetrical massing.
The Homestead. Along the entire length of the south side of South Street from Cossett Road to Route 39 is the property surrounding the Homestead which was built in part in 1804 by pioneer James Wadsworth. The house has been enlarged and embellished since that time. It originally stood nearer South Street and was moved to its present location by some 40 teams of oxen in 1874. Between the main house and South Street is a small brick building built about 1810. It has been in continuous use since as the business office for the vast Wadsworth holdings and remains unchanged. The gate lodge, built in 1912, is of cobblestone with workmanship almost identical to the Museum building. Please do not enter the driveway. The house is visible from points along route 20A.
The Village Park, on the corner of Main and South Streets, formerly the Village Green, was granted to the people of Geneseo for use in perpetuity as a park by Miss Elizabeth Wadsworth in the mid 1840's.
The log cabin in the park was erected in 1895 by the Livingston County Historical Society. It was constructed of logs brought to Geneseo from pioneer farms of the county and represents the type of dwelling used by the settlers in the Genesee country.
The Veterans' Memorial was erected in 1954 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars to the memory of all those Geneseoans who sacrificed their lives in the service of their country.
125 Main Street, the Concert Hall, was built in 1851 by James S. Wadsworth. The ground floor provided space for the Genesee Valley Bank. The upper floor was a beautiful auditorium which served the cultural needs of the area. In 1859 the building was enlarged to house a music school. 119 Main Street, the Geneseo Building, was built in 1908 after plans by Beardsley, an architect from Poughkeepsie, NY. The building has a particularly well designed portico.