50 Center Street
The small cottage on the corner of Elm and Center Streets was designed by architect Robert Sherlock for his aunt, Miss Elinor (“Annie”) McBride. When construction was completed in 1926, Mr. Sherlock entered the plans in a competition sponsored by House Beautiful, and it won first prize. This focused national attention on the architect and his work, and interested readers from across the country wrote for permission to be shown through the house.
Robert Sherlock was born in Rochester but moved to Geneseo at the age of six months with his mother and sister, Hildegarde, following the death of his father in 1880. He attended schools here and after a short time at Geneseo Normal, studied architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upon graduation, he began his career in New York City. While in New York, he participated in designing the New York Public Library, the Yale Quadrangle, St. Paul’s School in Andover, New Hampshire, and other important buildings. At the same time he carried on a private practice designing houses.
The rare talent of Robert Sherlock lay in his ability to combine the old with the more modern and practical, with scrupulous attention to details and the maximum use of space. There are several examples of his skill in Geneseo. Among them are two houses he designed for Lockwood Youngs on the corners of Country Club and Avon Roads; Cornerways at the corner of Highland and Center; the charming small house at 5 Prospect Street; and the old Geneseo High School, now the Doty Building.