32 Main Street


This building is one of the oldest on Main Street. Built for a residence about 1818 by Charles Colt, the frame Federal style building remains unchanged except for the addition of the side porch and some inconspicuous aluminum siding.

Charles Colt, accompanied by his brother Solomon, came to Geneseo on horseback from Massachusetts in 1814 and began business as a merchant. Since the mercantile trade of that day was chiefly barter, Mr. Colt soon turned all of his attention to dealings in produce. This interest and his early background in farming led him in 1830 to turn to agriculture. From 1830 to 1837 he managed the grazing tract on the west side of the river, then as Briton Flats and today part of Westerly.

One of Mr. Colt’s achievements was the invention, in cooperation with Gurdon Nowlen, of the iron mold-board wooden plow, looked upon then as a great advancement in technology. Always active in public affairs, he served in the New York State Senate from 1848 until 1852. In 1853 he retired and devoted the remainder of his life to farming.

During the early part of this century, the building was owned by Miss Nellie North and used as an annex for her famous Jam Kitchen. Today, it is well preserved and an exceptional example of the early Federal period. Especially outstanding for its exterior details, the entrance is featured in architect Carl Schmidt's book Colonial and Post-Colonial Details. As Mr. Schmidt says in his introduction: “How fortunate they were since there were no magazines to spread photographic reproduction of design and details ... There was not only a difference between the States but the builders in many villages also put their individual stamp on the designs, details and mouldings they made."