Pulteney Park is the original village green at
the center of Geneva, as surveyed and laid out in 1794. By the year 1800, the
Geneva Hotel, the post office, a grocery store, and the Geneva Academy stood
around the village green overlooking the lake. About 50 students may have
attended school, and on alternate Sundays people gathered in the schoolhouse to
listen to the Reverend Mr. Chapman preach.
In the 1820s the row houses were built with
shops in many of tem. The public square, as it became known, was used as a place
for horses, wagons, and stagecoaches to “park” when people were in Geneva
transacting business. In 1825 the square was conveyed to the village of Geneva
and the trustees encircled it with a “quaint ornamental wooden fence.” In June
of that year, the square was the scene of the official welcome of General La
Fayette. A reviewing stand, supported by columns and decorated with flowers, was
built. Speeches were read, songs were sung, and ladies leaned out of the windows
waving white handkerchiefs.
During the 1820s, as the last row houses were
being built, businesses began shifting to the waterfront and the public square
suffered from lack of maintenance. “Cows, dogs, horses, and the family wash line
were frequent occurrences.” In 1874, a group of ladies formed the Village
Improvement Association, directed construction, and installed a fountain in the
square. In 1879, when the ladies work was completed, the public square was
officially named Pulteney Park by the village officials.
The 20th Century has brought war
memorials to the park like the pool and statue, Peace, in the center, and
the granite WWII memorial on the south side.