Corner Main and Park Streets
Before the War of 1812, there were few buildings in Geneseo and these were mostly of wood or logs. Although the early settlers were constantly encouraging immigrants, poor roads and rumors of unhealthy air deterred most. Those who had opened shops dealt in the bare necessities.
About 1817 the tide seemed to turn and a slow influx into the valley began. Roads were bad and virtually impassable in muddy weather. The countryside was described as “verdant and woody.” Nevertheless, the reports of the beautiful valley and successful ventures of early merchants spread and attracted new settlers.
One of the first to arrive was Andrew Stewart, who built a brick building facing the village square on what today is the corner of Main and Park Streets. He conducted a dry goods business there for several years. About 1828 the front was changed to Main Street and the north half of the block was added.
In 1840 the building was sold to Alvinius Cone, who with his wife Hannah and son Joseph had come to Geneseo in 1839 from Elmira, New York. The “Old Corner Brick Block” became known as “A. Cone One-Price Cash Store,” and dealt in dry goods, groceries, and crockery among other things.
After completion of the Genesee Valley Canal, Mr. Cone was able to obtain merchandise regularly from New York City. His son, Joseph, joined him in business and later took over the management of the trade. About 1868, Joseph Cone remodeled the south half into a dwelling and apartment house. The north half was used as a marble shop.
About 1901, the property was sold to Mrs. Katherine Buckley. At that time, she engaged a well known architect from Boston to reconstruct the building for her use as a home. This was done beautifully – a handsome Federal structure, painted yellow, was the result. To the rear of the house was a well-manicured, formal garden, walled in and complete with a fountain. During this period, the home was known familiarly as “The Yellow House.” Mrs. Buckley was the step-grandmother of the late T.C.C. and C. Brooks Buckley, and an aunt of the late Mrs. Kenneth Doty.
In 1921, this lovely house was sold and converted into the Tally-Ho Tavern. Then in about 1930, the property was sold to the Standard Oil Company for $25,000 and the handsome structure was torn down for a gas station.
Geneseo was keeping pace with the rest of the country in developing faster and easier methods of transportation. To this end, gas stations were a necessary part of the landscape, certainly a far cry from the days that the Cones moved their first merchandise up the river on flat boats – each poled by six men.