To the Tourist - Geneva bids you welcome. May this visit occasion many enduring memories. To Colonel Williamson, more than to any other, Geneva owes its beauty of location and its thriving industries. In 1801, Colonel Troop was his successor and for 30 years was foremost in all Geneva's interests. In 1792 the price of good land here was two English shillings an acre. At the present time (1910) the tourist can obtain a good home on this land at a somewhat increased value.
In Indian name for Geneva was Kanadesaga, changed to Geneva in 1794. West of the village before that time, were three Indian villages, Toandoah at the White Springs Farm, Sagoyeawatha, at Maple Hill and Ganundasega at the Experiment Station. These three settlements became one and formed the Indian Stockade of the Six Nations. The State of New York had a fac-simile of this stockade exhibited at the Pan-American Exposition at an expense of ten thousand dollars, as part of the state exhibit. The original stockafe was destroyed by General Sullivan during his famous raid it 1887.
The first steamer, the Seneca Chief, was launched on Seneca lake in 1828. The same year the Cayuga and Seneca Canal was finished. The first express company was established here in 1843, and the first telegraph office opened in 1848. The Gazette of July 19, 1815, contained a notice of a meeting of the Geneva Library, and now for the first time there is a prospect of the Library having a permanent home, together with a Soldier's Memorial.
The first church bell, west of Utica, was hung in the Presbyterian Church in 1819. The Trinity church bell rang for the first time in 1823. Ark. Lodge, No. 33 F. A. M., was founded Sept. 2nd, 1807. The first meeting was held in Powell's Hotel, Jan 8th, 1808, the building thus becoming the first Masonic Temple. Powell was an enthusiastic Mason and had fitted up the Lodge Room largely at his own expense. The new hundred thousand dollar Masonic Temple on Main Street is the eleventh Masonic edifice in Geneva. In 1863, Phineas Prouty was Junior Warden and E. Daykin, Treasurer. He was treasurer for fifty years. His desk, which contained the records of the Ark Lodge, during Morgan times, now forms one of the historic relics in Elmwood Priory Museum.
The Layfayette Tree, now the largest tree in the state, is so called from the fact that June 8th, 1825, General Layfayette held a reception under this tree and was welcomed by 2,000 people. Including a committee of 300, led by Captain Ruggles. The tree stands west of the city on Bean's hill at the junction of two state roads, the Albany and Buffalo Turnpike and the Old Pre-emption, one block from the city line. It can be easily reached from Washington or Hamilton Streets. The LaFayette Memorial of limestone and Tennessee marble, erected by the Historical society is near by.
Layfayette held another large reception in Pultney Park, his entire trip being an ovation. The people came many miles to see him. The Distinguished Guest was accompanied by his son and his private secretary. They had a late dinner at the Franklin. The site is now occupied by the O. J. C. Rose Commercial Building. This was the opening day of the hotel. The same night LaFayette left for Auburn where he was the guest of Governor Seward.
In Geneva, in the residential section, are many beautiful and stately homes and surrounding the city are many costly estates, many of them owned by New York families. Geneva is unsurpassed in its scenic beauty. Mr. Powell, a famous innkeeper from England was the first landlord of the Geneva Hotel. It had few equals in America. In 1815, the first public school was established, 1817. Geneva National Bank founded, 1818 the Methodist church organized, 1824 the Great Washington Ball was held, unsurpassed by an subsequent social event, 1831 Reformed church, 1832 St. Francis De Sales, 1834 Universalist, 1839 The Bethel Society. This later in 1870 became the "North" church.
In 1836 the Geneva Medical College was opened and in 1849 was the first Medical College in the world to confer the degree of M. D. on a woman. In 1840 Geneva's greatest industry of raising nursery stock began, which increased in volume until in 1880, Geneva sold more trees that year than any other place in the world. In 1855 Linden Hall was built, 1877 Fall Brook railroad built, 1878 Church Home established, 1879 first telephone service, 1880 34th Separate Company National Guard formed, 1881 N. Y. State Experimental Station, 1882 Paid Police Department on Metropolitan system, 1886 Y.M.C.A., 1892 Buffalo Lehigh extension, 1893 first brick paving, 1894 four events: Naples railroad opened, Trolley line to Waterloo, Choral Soceity, Strand Theatre built, 1895 first daily paper, 1897, Geneva a city, and 1904 Trolley line to Rochester. From Lark Jennings, the solitary pioneer, to 1919, fifteen thousand population.
Thus Geneva, slowly but surely moves on to a glorious future, an ideal city.