Main Street Gullies

During the early part of the 19th century, Geneseo's Main Street was crossed by two deep gullies which handled the run-off from the high ground of the village to the river. The one at the north end was about where the Bolt house now stands; the one at the south, about at the Geneseo Building. Over each was a rather crude bridge. These gullies, or ravines, as they were sometimes called, could not always handle the run-off. On July 29, 1839 a torrential rain storm was particularly damaging. In less than an hour and a half the gullies were filled and overflowing, turning Main Street into a river. The basements of the little wooden buildings (housing various shops) in the southwest section of Main Street were filled with roaring torrents. At the north end of the street a new walk of timbers had just been constructed over the ravine, with abutments built into the embankment over 15 feet high. The foundations were soon loosened, the embankment gave way, and the whole structure went crashing down toward the river.

Shortly after this, better ways were devised to take care of the run-off and the gullies were filled in. As time went by more and more sophisticated types of storm sewers were developed. Evidence of the ravines can be seen today. The north gully can be seen at Wadsworth or Franklin, a short distance south of Court; the south gully is the depression between the Geneseo Building and Rector's, or at the lower reaches on Route 63 near the entrance to the college.