Geneseo was founded in 1836 by a group of Congregationalist settlers from Geneseo and Bergen, New York, who came west and staked their claims in an area the Indians called "Pleasant Valley." The appeal of the area is still evident today with its rolling countryside, abundant water supply, mature trees and fertile soil.
Located in northwestern Illinois on Interstate 80, the town of 6,000-plus has retained much of its original turn-of-the-century flavor with its Victorian-era homes, churches, and thriving business community. Geneseo has a colorful downtown shopping district which features more than 50 businesses, shops and restaurants. Visitors entering Geneseo for the first time frequently comment on the beautifully restored Victorian-era homes which decorate tree-lined entrances to the city. The pride Geneseo residents take in these historic portraits of the community's past is evident as more and more of these beautiful homes are returned to their former splendor. For those who prefer a newer home, Geneseo offers a variety of well-established and new residential developments within the city limits and just outside the community. Geneseo's quality housing and close proximity to the Quad-Cities continue to attract Quad-City commuters.
The community's spirit prevails in many special events, which take place throughout the year. Weekly ice cream soicals in the summer, concerts in the park, parades, an annual Music and Crafts Festival, Halloween Festival, Hikemabika hiking and biking fest and Christmas Victorian Walk all contribute to the city's charm.
This charm, combined with an excellent educational system and exceptional housing, has made Geneseo an attractive place to live for those who work throughout Henry County and for many who commute to the Quad-City metropolitan area, located just 20 minutes west on I-80. The schools have a reputation for excellence, offering daycare and preschool facilities, a special education cooperative, four elementry schools, one middle school and one high school. The community's emphasis on quality education is evidenced by the number of graduating seniors, whose scores are higher than the state average on ACT tests. Graduating seniors do not have to venture far from home to find a broad array of higher education opportunities. Located within 35 miles of Geneseo are five trade and technical schools, three junior colleges and five colleges and universities.
Geneseo is home to several manufacturers and has positioned itself to attract additional business and industry. The city has developed the J.F. Edwards Commercial Park on Highway 82 north of Geneseo. This is a 40 acre park with 15.4 acres remaining for companies interested in taking advantage of business and lifestyle opportunities in the area. The City of Geneseo and the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce are committed to helping businesses grow in the area and have access to a variety of financing packages to assist them.
Geneseo is fortunate to have a high-quality health care system, Hammond Henry Hospital. Twelve physicians are located in the city along with seven dentists. Five additional health care centers are located with 30 miles of Geneseo.
RECREATION AND CULTURE
The Geneseo Community Center offers a multi-purpose gymnasium, sauna, walking/jogging track, weight room, cardiovascular room, racquetball courts, locker rooms, babysitting service room, indoor swimming pool, Dedrick Room, Senior Citizens Center and kitchen facilities. In addition, city parks offer softball leagues, soccer fields, tennis, Frisbee golf and attractive picnic facilities. A variety of youth athletic programs are available in Geneseo, including soccer, football, softball and basketball.
Tennis courts, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, sledding and picnic facilities are just some of the attractions at beautiful Richmond Hill Park, located on the south edge of Geneseo. For the outdoor enthusiast, the historic Hennepin Canal waterway offers miles of canoeing solitude, fishing and camping. It also boasts the Hennepin Canal State Bike Path, part of the Grand Illinois Trail. Additional fishing and water sports abound on the Mississippi, Rock and Green Rivers, located within 20 minutes of Geneseo. The city offers a variety of golfing experiences on an 18-hole and two nine-hole golf courses, including the Geneseo Country Club.
The Geneseo Historical Museum offers the opportunity to explore the area's past. After being housed for 25 years in rental property, the Geneseo Historical Association purchased a home of it's own November 1, 1996 and opened to the public June 1, 1998. The museum houses permanent museum exhibits as well as changing displays featuring thousands of local artifacts.
The 27-room Italianate mansion still has five of the orginal twelve fireplaces of white Italian marble, two very ornate staircases, each different in design, and beautiful crown molding and woodwork. Visitors are invited to visit the general store, dentist office, children's room and stroll through the lovely gardens.
A wealth of talent can be found in the Geneseo area as is evidenced in the Geneseo Art League, Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, and weekly band concerts in the park during the summer months. For the latest cinema, the Geneseo Community Center operates Central Theatre, located in the downtown-shopping district. A modern library system offers more than 44,000 books and magazines, with access to an additional 1.8 million titles through the River Bend Library System. In addition to local cultural activities, the Quad-Cities offer a variety of entertaining and educational excursions. Chicago is a popular weekend trip located less than 150 interstate miles east of Geneseo. Geneseo is also centrally located to several popular tourist sites, including Galena, IL, Bishop Hill, IL, and the Amana Colonies in Iowa.