About the Museum
The Livingston County Historical Society’s Museum houses 200 years of stories and collections from towns in Livingston County (Avon, Caledonia, Conesus, Geneseo, Groveland, Leicester, Lima, Livonia, Mt. Morris, North Dansville, Nunda, Ossian, Portage, Sparta, Springwater, York , West Sparta).
As Geneseo’s District #5 former cobblestone schoolhouse built on land donated by the pioneer Wadsworth brothers, the Livingston County Historical Museum began as an educational center and remains so today. This 1838 cobblestone building, originally in the shape of a Greek Cross, has seen three major additions. The first was in 1871 to the southwest, the second was in 1916 to the southeast, and the third was in 1968 when a large board and batten wing to the rear of the building was constructed for carriages and large equipment. The Historical Society did extensive cobblestone repair work 1999-2000 and again in 2008. This 1838 cobblestone structure is a contributing structure within the Geneseo National Historic Landmark District and became the Livingston County Museum in 1932 when the school moved to a new facility. The first museum, a log cabin built in 1895, still stands in its original location in the Village Park in Geneseo.
The Big Tree
The Genesee Valley was well-settled by the Seneca Indian Nation. During these times, the heavily forested region around the Genesee Valley was simply called “Big Tree,” hence the naming of the “Treaty of Big Tree” which was soon to come. As European settlers began to lay claim to the land, it was necessary to negotiate land rights with the Seneca Nation. Talks held on the property of the Wadsworth family culminated in The Treaty of Big Tree in 1797 that created land reservations for the Seneca while granting ownership of the land to the Holland Land Company for 3 ½ million acres for development to non-natives. More specifically, the Treaty also refers to a particularly large oak tree along the west bank of the Genesee River that stood on the now Wadsworth family property that hosted the Treaty negotiations. After having been rooted in that original location of witness for many years, the tree fell in 1857 as a result of a great flood. Its last remaining section is housed in an outdoor shelter on the grounds of the Livingston County Museum.
The Willard Hose House
The Willard Hose Building, circa 1890s, is a former fire cart building that was relocated to the site of the Museum in 1989. Its historic location was along the railroad lines at the bottom (west end) of Court Street, Geneseo, NY. In 1900, the building housed one of a group of four independent fire carts stationed throughout the Village. Its use was discontinued by the Volunteer Fire Company when a more modern fire station equipped with a steam pumper was built in the Village. The structure was subsequently moved to 68 North Street and was eventually donated to the Museum by Mr. and Mrs. Tom LaGrou.