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Geneva, New York

Skyline of Geneva
Geneva is located in New York
Location within the state of New York
Country United States
State New York
County Ontario, Seneca
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Mayor Ronald L. Alcock (R)
 • City Manager Mathew D.Horn
 • City Council
Population (2013)[1]
 • Total 13,199
ZIP code 14456
Area code(s) 315
FIPS code 36-28640
GNIS feature ID 0978993

Geneva is a city in Ontario and Seneca counties in the U.S. state of New York. It is located at the northern end of Seneca Lake; all land portions of the city are within Ontario County; the water portions are in Seneca County. The population was 13,261 at the 2010 census.[2] Some claim it is named after the city and canton of Geneva in Switzerland.[3] Others believe the name came from the word "Seneca". The main settlement of the Seneca was spelled Zoneshio by early white settlers, and was described as being 2 miles north of Seneca Lake.[4]

The city lies within the Town of Geneva. The city identifies as the "Lake Trout Capital of the World."[5]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Cityscape 3
  • Government 4
  • Education 5
  • Demographics 6
  • Tourism 7
  • Notable people 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Lakefront from long pier

The area was long occupied by the Seneca tribe, who established a major village of Kanadaseaga here by 1687.[6] The British helped fortify the village against the French of Canada during the Seven Years' War (locally known as the French and Indian War); later they added defensive fortifications against the Americans during the Revolutionary War. During the latter warfare, the punitive Sullivan Expedition of 1779 mounted by rebel forces destroyed many of the dwellings, as well as the winter stores of the people, and they abandoned the ruins. Following the war and cession of the land by the Seneca, European-Americans settled here about 1793. They developed a town encouraged by the Pulteney Association, which owned the land and was selling plots.

At the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, Lt. Col. Seth Reed, who had fought at Bunker Hill, was one of many pioneers who moved from Massachusetts into Ontario County. By trade with the Seneca, he bought a tract of land eighteen miles in extent. (This was illegal, as only the US government was authorized to make land deals with the Native Americans.) This occurred in 1787, while his wife Hannah stayed in Uxbridge, Massachusetts with their family.[7] "Seth Read moved, his wife Hannah and their family to Geneva, Ontario County, New York in the winter of 1790".[8]

The settlement at Geneva was not yet permanent; the Seneca continued to harass European Americans on the frontier. In 1795 Read and his family removed to Erie, Pennsylvania, where they became the earliest European-American settlers there.[9]

The "Village of Geneva" was incorporated in 1806, 1812, and 1871, formally separating it from the surrounding area of Geneva Town. Later the village became a city.


The town is at the two-mile wide northern outlet of Seneca Lake, a lake that spans 34 miles south to Watkins Glen. Geneva is located in the Finger Lakes region, the largest wine-producing area in New York State. The Cayuga-Seneca Canal is part of the watershed of Keuka Lake. It flows north through Geneva, connecting to the Erie Canal, which was completed in 1825, giving access for the region to the Great Lakes and midwestern markets for their produce, as well as to buy natural resource commodities.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.8 square miles (15.2 km²). 4.3 square miles (11.0 km²) of it is land and 1.6 square miles (4.1 km²) of it (27.18%) is water.

Geneva is connected via the east-west US 20, concurrent with NY 5. NY 14 is a north-south highway through the city. It is fairly equidistant from Rochester and Syracuse, each being about 45 miles away.


Skyline of Geneva from the shoreline of Seneca Lake


Geneva uses a mayor-council form of government. The mayor is elected at large. The council consists of eight members. Six are elected from one of six wards. The other two are elected at large. Ronald L. Alcock is the current Mayor of the City of Geneva, winning the seat after having served as councilor-at-large for a 4-year term immediately preceding the November 2011 city-wide election.


The Geneva City School District operates the local public primary and secondary schools. The district has two elementary schools, North Street School[10] (3rd-5th) and West Street School[10] (K-2). The district's secondary schools are Geneva Middle School and Geneva High School.[10]

Private schools include:

  • Children's Hours School, a private school[11] for toddlers through first grade.[12] Its enrollment is about 27 students.[13] The current director is Ms. Mary Bohle.[11]
  • St. Francis-St. Stephen's School, a Roman Catholic elementary school that teaches grades PreK-8 in Geneva.[14] The current principal is Mrs. Mary Mantelli.[14]
  • Rose Academy, a school of Experiential Learning for grades 1-5. The curriculum includes GLOBAL Science, Reading A-Z Program, Touch Point Math, Art, Music, Physical Education. It was founded by Dr. Lorraine Williams.

Colleges and universities include:


As of the census of 2000, there were 13,617 people, 5,014 households, and 2,933 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,199.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,234.2/km²). There were 5,564 housing units at an average density of 1,307.4 per square mile (504.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.52% White, 10.22% African American, 0.25% Native American, 1.23% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.39% from other races, and 3.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.50% of the population.[2]

There were 5,014 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.5% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.03.[2]

In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 18.9% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 87.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.5 males.[2]

The median income for a household in the city was $31,600, and the median income for a family was $41,224. Males had a median income of $31,315 versus $23,054 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,609. About 13.7% of families and 17.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.2% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.[2]


One of the major industries in and around Geneva is winemaking. The area is becoming increasingly popular for agritourism: there are over 100 wineries in the Finger Lakes Region, and the Seneca Lake wine trail provides easy access to many of these from Geneva. As Geneva grows as a tourist destination so do the number of rooms available. In 2015, the National Civic League chose Geneva as one of ten cities from across the country to receive its annual All-America City Award. [17]

Notable people


  1. ^ "2013 US Census Estimate for New York".  
  2. ^ a b c d e "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 136. 
  4. ^ Supplement to Dobson's Encyclopedia, volume 3, 1803, which cites Jedidiah Morse as their source.
  5. ^ Faber, Harold (December 9, 1993). "The World Capital of Whatever". New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2008. 
  6. ^ Tanner, Helen Hornbeck; Adele Hast; Jacqueline Peterson; Robert J. Surtees; Miklos Pinther (1987). Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 33.  
  7. ^ Buford, Mary Hunter (1895). Seth Read, Lieut.-Col.Continental Army; Pioneer at Geneva, New York, 1787, and at Erie, Penn., June, 1795. His Ancestors and Descendants. Boston, Mass. pp. 167 Pages on CD in PDF Format. 
  8. ^ Turner, Eramus (1909). Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York. Volume II. p. 319. 
  9. ^ "PA Biographies; William Ward Reed". Retrieved September 29, 2007. 
  10. ^ a b c "Schools". Geneva City Schools. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "NYS Admin Listing". NYSED. Retrieved June 14, 2010. Record Type: Non-Public[...] Chief School Officer: DIRECTOR - MARY M. BOHLE 
  12. ^ "Children's Hours School". Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Moodie's Children's Hours School Home Page". 
  14. ^ a b "NYS Admin Listing". NYSED. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Brooke, James (May 12, 2004). "LETTER FROM ASIA; Foreigners Try to Melt an Inhospitable Japanese City".  
  19. ^ a b c Emmons, Thayles (1982). "The Story of Geneva". The Finger Lakes Times. 
  20. ^ Travie McCoy
  21. ^ Murphy, Jessica. "Arthur Dove (1880–1946)". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved December 24, 2008. 
  22. ^ Libby Gill
  23. ^ Crofut, Rachel (December 8, 2008). "Gym Class drummer donates set to city school". Finger Lakes Times. 
  24. ^ "Jazz Giants - Mike Hashim". Roberto's Winds Inc. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Obituary 1 -- No Title". The New York Times. January 14, 1860. 
  27. ^ Jerry Keenan, The Life of Yellowstone Kelly, University of New Mexico Press, 2006
  28. ^ Knight, Michael Muhammad (2009). Impossible Man. 
  29. ^ "Christine Lavin". Tidewater Friends of Folk Music. Archived from the original on October 28, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2008. 
  30. ^ "Valor awards for Jerry C. Wall". Military Times, Hall of Valor. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Ontario County NY Obituaries". Ontario County NYGenWeb, et al. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 

External links

  • City's website
  • Chamber of Commerce website
  • School District website
  • Early history of Geneva area
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