67 Center Street
This house was built in 1841 by Samuel P. Allen on the land he purchased from James Wadsworth for $400. The property, which at that time included the lot immediately east and extended north to what is now Oak Street, was originally an apple orchard, referred to as “The Nursery Lot.”
Mr. Allen had moved to Geneseo from Mt. Morris in 1830 to become an apprentice in the office of the Livingston Register, Geneseo’s first newspaper. In 1837, he established the Livingston Republican, which replaced it, but sold the paper in 1846 to pursue his journalistic career in Rochester. In 1874, he returned to Geneseo, repurchased the paper, and continued as editor and publisher almost to the time of his death in 1881.
When Mr. and Mrs. Allen left Geneseo in 1846, their property on Center Street was sold to William Walker. The following year Mr. Walker sold the house and lot to Mr. and Mrs. William Whiting. (Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Whiting were sisters.) The Whitings enlarged the house in the 1850’s or 1860’s and, after a destructive fire in 1878, were forced to rebuild the entire second story. This remained their residence until their respective deaths in 1890 and 1892.
Their only child, Mrs. Emily Newton Shepard, had died in 1887 of diphtheria; thus in 1892 the property passed to her children, Stanley and Katherine, who lived there for a number of years. Katherine died in 1926, and in 1928 Dr. James V. Sturges, principal of the Geneseo Normal School for 17 years, purchased the house from Stanley. At the same time, the lot to the east (69 Center Street) was sold to the Neff sisters, Edna and Grace, who built the present O’Connell residence.
The old Allen (or Whiting) homestead remained in the hands of the Sturges estate until 1954. Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Sheppard became the owners in 1955, and they, like the Whitings, were forced to reconstruct a part of the house after a serious fire in 1963. This time the damage was confined to the interior of the first floor, which the Sheppards restored with great care. The house today is beautifully maintained, contributing to the charm and dignity of one of the oldest streets in the village.