Historic Photo's of Downtown Geneva, NY
Masonic Temple, Geneva, NY Hydrant Hose Company, Geneva Fire Department, Geneva, NY First M. E. Church Armory, Geneva, NY
Castle Street Looking West, Showing Miler Fountain and Kirkwood Hotel Geneva Post Office Hook and Ladder Company and City Hall, Geneva, NY Post Office, Geneva New York
Seneca Street, Geneva, NY Seneca Street Looking East, Geneva, NY Senca Street by Night, From Hotel Seneca Seneca Street East
Hotel Nester   YMCA, Geneva, NY Kirkwood Hotel Main Street South, Geneva, NY

    Originally known by its Seneca Indian name of "Kanadesaga," Geneva was resettled by Europeans after the Indians were dispersed during the American Revolution. Charles Williamson, agent for the Pulteney Group of English investors, is known as the "Founder of Geneva." Streets were laid out in 1793, and building rapidly increased after 1796. Seventeen hundred and ninety six was a big year in early Geneva history: the Geneva Academy (forerunner of Hobart College) was founded, the Geneva Hotel opened, the Geneva post office was established, the Ontario Gazette, a newspaper which served all of western New York began printing, and the sloop "Alexander," carrying commercial trade on Seneca Lake, was launched.


    By the date of incorporation around 1806, Geneva was the most important settlement in the area. By comparison, Syracuse, known until 1809 as Bogardus Corners, was an insignificant hamlet, and Rochester wasn't settled until 1810. The population of Geneva (300 people in 1800) increased to almost 3,000 by 1826. This was largely due to Geneva's importance as a trading center.    


    Geneva's early economy was largely based on agriculture. Farm produce was often shipped in the form of whiskey or brandy. There were 13 distilleries in Geneva prior to 1830, due largely to the lack of water power for the establishment of flour mills.

The opening of water routes to New York City in the early 1820's ended the large-scale distilling industry in Geneva, as farmers could ship their fruit and grains directly to market. The Erie Canal connecting Albany to Buffalo opened in 1825. Towns along the canal route grew more rapidly than the off-canal settlements such as Geneva. For example, in the decade 1820-1830, Geneva's population increased 100 percent, but the populations of Utica, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester increased by 183, 282, 314, and 512 percent respectively.


    Geneva has a long academic tradition. In 1825, the Geneva Academy attained state accreditation and became Geneva College. In 1834, a Medical College was established, from which Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female medical doctor in America, was graduated in 1849. The Medical College moved to Syracuse and became part of Syracuse University in 1872. Geneva College was renamed Hobart Free College in 1852 and Hobart College in 1860. The State purchased the Nehemiah Denton farm for the establishment of an agricultural experiment station in 1882. The Station became part of Cornell University in 1923.


Postcards and information provided by: Dr. Lindsay A. Lafford, Lord of Ridley

Visit: http://lord-of-ridley.com/contents.htm for more postcards and history of Geneva


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