Rockwood House, the English style “cottage” just north of Geneseo on the Avon Road, is believed to have been built about 1908 for James Samuel Wadsworth, a grandson of General James Wadsworth, who was born in 1870. In 1895, he married Julia Whitaker of St. Louis and they lived on the Reservoir Road until their divorce about 1907. In 1916, he married Elizabeth Regan and brought her to his house on the Avon Road. Jim Sam was an accomplished horseman and a lively and colorful character. In his book, The Genesee, Henry Clune says he was “a man no more impressed by rank, wealth or royalty than he was by the village bar flies who were his friends, or by the grooms of the Wadsworth stables who adored him.” After his death in 1930, his wife, affectionately known as “Bess” continued to reside there.
In the early 1940’s, Harry Andrews, an Englishman who was made Huntsman for the Genesee Valley Hunt, purchased this property where the hunt kennels were then located. He lived there with his wife and two daughters and it was they who named it Rockwood House. These ladies created and tended the lovely gardens including the one in front of the house, in the shape of the state of New York.
After Harry Andrews’ death in the early 1950’s, Mrs. Andrews and her daughter Betty continued to reside here. The kennels were moved to a new location on Roots Tavern Road in 1954. Daughter Phyllis who had married and moved away returned to Rockwood House after a divorce. Following the death of her mother and sister, Phyllis sold the house to Louis and Karen Snyder who lived there for about three years. It was then purchased by Steve Burnett and others with the intention of dividing the eleven acres for residential development.
It is fortunate that the property was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Hanson in 1989. They meticulously restored both the house and the gardens, installed a swimming pool with landscaping and added a large two-story addition after plans drawn by historic architect Frank Grosso.