Do you like to visit unique towns with a fascinating past and present? If so, DID YOU KNOW...
Ransom E. Olds was born in Geneva in 1864 and lived here until 1870. A monument on West Main Street marks the site of his birth and the family home at the time. R. E. Olds went on to originate the Oldsmobile and Reo automobiles and mass production of automobiles, a concept which Henry Ford later modified with use of the assembly line.
A business founded in Geneva by Pliny Olds, the father of Ransom E. Olds, was continued by the family after they moved from Geneva in 1870. After Ransom grew old enough to join the business it was named P.F. Olds & Son Machinists. That business, founded in Geneva, evolved into the Olds Motor Works in Lansing, Michigan, and eventually became the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors.
Four different brands of automobiles were manufactured in Geneva during 1901 to 1926. The brands were the Geneva, a steam-powered car, the Ewing taxicab, the Heifner, and the Young truck. The building where the Young truck was made is still in use today.
At least five future U.S. Presidents visited Geneva. Abraham Lincoln spoke briefly from the train on the way to his inauguration in 1861. James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley spoke in Geneva at the dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on August 4, 1880. Benjamin Harrison campaigned here while running for President in 1888.
The grave of Platt R. Spencer, located in Evergreen Cemetery on Eastwood Street in Geneva, is visited by people from near and far every year. Platt R. Spencer (1801-1864) was a resident of Geneva township. Among his many accomplishments he developed the Spencerian system of handwriting and is known as the Father of American Penmanship. There is a Spencerian Penmanship seminar with lessons by masters of the style held in the area each September.
Edith Thomas moved to Geneva at the age of seven, and lived there with her family 1861-1887. Her mother's home was at the northeast corner of South Forest and Eastwood Streets. She began writing poetry while a Geneva resident. After leaving Geneva for New York City she wrote for Scribner's, Harper's, and other magazines. She became an internationally acclaimed for her poetry in the 1880s and 1890s. When she passed away in 1925, newspapers in London and Paris wrote that she was the greatest female poet since Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Geneva.
Walter L. Main, while a resident of Geneva, had an outstanding career in the circus business during 1887-1939. His Walter Main Circus, headquartered in Geneva, was at a time one of the largest traveling railroad circuses in the world. Two houses where Walter Main lived in Geneva are still standing, though they are not open for tours.
The Champion Hardware Company, which operated in Geneva from 1902 to 1957, was a nationally-known maker of builders and cabinet hardware. In addition the company at various times made cast iron toys, banks, bookends, doorknockers, and other items now sought by antique collectors nationwide. The factory consisted of several buildings and was located on along Factory Row, just north of the railroad tracks in downtown Geneva.
Bob Dylan almost certainly traveled through Geneva on Main Street (U.S. Route 20) on his legendary 1961 trip from Minnesota to visit Woody Guthrie in the hospital in New York City. Bob left his home hitchhiking and caught a ride with a man driving a 1957 Impala that took him all the way from Chicago, through northern Ohio, to New York City. In Geneva, you can still walk the same path traveled by one of the giants of American music at the dawn of his career, a moment forever etched into our popular culture.
Geneva is located in a unique micro-climate for grape growing. The result is that Geneva is surrounded by many grape vineyards and wineries. Dozens of varieties of high quality local wines are available in many wineries and retail outlets for the pleasure of visitors and local residents. One of the largest town festivals in Ohio, the Geneva Grape Jamboree, has been held in Geneva annually starting in 1964. The festival is held the last full weekend in September. It draws tens of thousands of visitors to Geneva every year rain or shine.
BEST OF ALL...Geneva has its old time, traditional downtown business district largely intact and still in use. A large number of the buildings were built approximately 1880-1910. There are a wide variety of interesting shops and restaurants waiting for you to discover. As an antidote for suburban sprawl, EXPERIENCE THE BEST OF YESTERDAY'S SHOPPING EXPERIENCE...TODAY...in historic Geneva, Ohio!
Information provided by Mark Schupska of Broadway Antiques in Downtown Geneva.