72 Center Street


This handsome brick building was built in 1864, and at that time afforded an unparalleled view of the valley.  An architect named Wagstaff designed the mansion for Herbert L. Johnson, who conducted a lumber mill in the village.

Mr. Johnson sold this stately Italianate villa to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Jones in 1870.  A year or so later, when a small brick building on the southwest corner of Center and Elm Streets (used until 1851 by the Methodists as a place of worship and later for singing and day schools) was condemned as unsafe, Mr. Jones purchased it and used the bricks to build the outbuildings for his new residence.

Charles Jones was one of sixteen children born to the famous Captain Horatio Jones.  His mother, Captain Jones’ second wife, was Elizabeth Starr, whose father built the first frame house in the Genesee Valley.

A few years after the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Jones, their house was sold to Abram Goodwin, a well-known and well-informed citizen of Geneseo.   A lover of language, hunting dogs and music, he was a boyhood playmate of Stephen Foster.  Following Mr. Goodwin’s death in 1915, his son, Willard, continued living there for about thirty years.

Mr. and Mrs. David Moses purchased the house from the Goodwin estate in 1946 and resided there until 1950, when they sold it to Mr. and Mrs. John Staley.  It currently is owned by a college fraternity.

The porch, which was across the west side of the house, was removed sometime after 1950.  Except for this alteration and a small addition to the rear, the mansion, structurally, is essentially as it was at the time of construction, an imposing and fine example of the Italianate style of architecture. It has unfortunately fallen into a state of disrepair in the last several years.