The Settlement of Geneseo began shortly after the arrival of James and William Wadsworth in 1790. The brothers came to the Genesee Valley from Connecticut as agents of their uncle, Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth, to care for and sell land that he had purchased from the Phelps-Gorham Purchase. The influence that the Wadsworth family has exerted upon the community is obvious. It has touched every facet of life – commercial, intellectual, and spiritual – as evidenced in landmarks and buildings treasured today.
Geneseo became the County Seat in 1821. The village was incorporated in 1832. By 1835, it consisted of 83 families and the streets were Main, Second, North, South, Center and Temple Hill (now Highland Road). The village grew steadily and in the 1850's Elm Street was opened. With the advent of the State Normal School in 1871, there was a new surge of development and Oak Street was opened in the late 1880's. Buildings from each generation have contributed individuality and quality, resulting in a unique community with outstanding examples of many periods. National recognition of the village as one of exceptional value and integrity resulted in the distinct honor of its being named a National Historic Landmark by the United States Secretary of the Interior in 1991.
Main Street has historically been the heart of Geneseo. It was planned with a Village Green (now the Village Park) at the south end and the Court House at the north; a fine broad level stretch of land extends between. Handsome residences were built at either end with the business district as the centerpiece. Two of the Wadsworth family homes stand at the ends of Main Street. The Homestead lies south of the Village Park, and Hartford House is north of the Livingston County Court House.