Corner of Main and South Streets

c. 1880
Courtesy of Milne Library

Joseph D. Lewis was born in the town of York in 1833, the son of Samuel Lewis, farmer and mason. The young Lewis worked on his father's farm where he engaged in the buying and selling of wool. About 1860 he moved to Geneseo, where he continued the management of the farm and wool trade, and also became a successful auctioneer. He conducted the sale of properties of all kinds and through this, and his position as superintendent of domestic exhibits at the annual county fair, became a well-known and popular citizen in the area.

In 1864 he married Margaret Donnan of York, and built a brick dwelling just north of the corner of Main and South (now a parking lot and service station). This home, erected on the site of a former one which was torn down, he built with materials from the original structure. He and Mrs. Lewis lived in this home facing the village park for almost fifty years.

c. 1930
Courtesy of Livingston County Historian

Always enterprising, when the present Presbyterian Church was built in 1884, he purchased the old white church, then standing on Main Street, with the intention of converting it into a concert hall. When this proved impractical, he razed it to make way for the building of 131 Main Street.

Joseph Lewis was a charter member of the Historical Society, and one of the spearheads in the erection of the log cabin in the park. For years the cabin served as the County Historical Museum until its contents were moved to their present location on Center Street. Mr. Lewis was an avid collector of relics of all sorts which he displayed there, and upon his death in 1915 bequeathed to the Society.