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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: Southwest of Rochester, in the Town of Wheatland, Hamlet of Mumford, Finger Lakes Region, New York

Address: 1410 Flint Hill Rd, Mumford, NY 14511

Phone: (585) 538-6822

Days / Hours:

  • Wednesday through Sunday from May 7 – September 11
  • OPEN Monday, July 4
  • OPEN Thursday through Sunday, from September 22 – October 10
  • CLOSED on Memorial Day and Labor Day and from September 12 – September 22

Usually open all year. Here is a rough idea of their schedule. For specific dates and times, check their hours of admission.

January – April: Village and Museum only open on select days and evenings for special events. Nature Center is open Sundays 10am – 4pm.
May – August: Village and Museum open Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm. Closed on Memorial Day. Open on Labor Day. Nature Center is open Sundays 10am – 4pm.
September – Mid-October:  Village and Museum open Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm. Open on Columbus Day. Nature Center is open Sundays 10am – 4pm.
Mid-October – December:  only open on select days and evenings for special events. Nature Center closes Oct 18. All trails are closed for hunting season.

The Village and Museum, as well as the Nature Center have numerous events throughout the year. Check their Calendar to see what’s coming up.  We recommend, for some of the more popular events, to buy your tickets in advance.

Maps:  Village Map (printable PDF); Our map of prime photo spotsNature Center Trail Map

Admission: Rates  2022. Prices do not include food and special events.

Adult: $18 online, $19.50 at the door
Senior (62+): $15 online, $16.50 at the door
Student (13-18): $15 online, $16.50 at the door
Youth (3-12): $12 online, $13.50 at the door
Children under 3: FREE
Veterans: Please ask at the Admission Gate
GCV&M Members: FREE

For special events and other special pricing circumstances, check the GCV&M website.

Handicap accessibility: Most of the buildings in the village were built a while ago without consideration for the disabled. The trails and roads around the village are dirt or gravel and are also not suitable.  The modern facilities, including the restrooms, restaurants, gift shop, and gallery are accessible. The museum has marked wheelchair accessible locations on the digital map. A discount on admission is provided to individuals with disabilities.

Pets: Not permitted.

Accommodations: Where do we start? 68 restored and furnished historical buildings from around the region, historical reenactments and demonstrations, restrooms, trolley, art gallery, historical apparel exhibit, 2 restaurants, burgers/dogs grills, educational classes, ice cream, wine & beer, gift shops, sweets/pastry shop, wedding/party venues, historic wagons, farm animals, baseball diamond, first aid, audio tours, summer camp for kids, nature center, wooded hiking trails, and an organ grinder.

Best time to visit: Weekends in good weather, and special events are when you will see the most reenactment activity and costumes out and about. Check the event calendar to see if any events align with your interests.

soldiers resting under a tree at the Genesee Country Village and Museum



The Historic Village

The largest of its kind in the State of New York, the Genesee Country Village is a showcase of 19th century American architecture, furnishings, and culture. With 68 relocated and restored buildings, dozens of highly-trained volunteers taking on various roles within the community, and even domestic animals grazing the farmsteads, there seems to always be something to see going on, different people to meet, and new things to learn. Best of all, for the aspiring photographer of any genre, the grounds are jam-packed with photographic subjects and opportunities, which is why it was an easy choice to add to our list of Great New York Photography Locations.

The village represents three time periods of the Genesee Valley.

Note: Further research was done to obtain more tidbits on the buildings and their owners than the GCV&M has published. I have found many inconsistencies with dates. My dates are a combination of GCV&M published dates, those of local historical societies, and from published historical records.

Pioneer Settlement (1795-1830)

Early pioneer home at the Genesee Country Village and MuseumDuring this migration of some of the first settlers in the region, farms and log cabins took over the landscape.

  • Toll House (Lima, NY – c.1850) Serving as the gateway to the historic village, the toll house once garnered the southernmost Genesee Turnpike road tolls for the Rochester and Hemlock Lake Plank Road Company. The building served as a homestead for the toll keeper and family.
  • Quaker Meeting House (Wheatland, NY – 1854) Members of The Religious Society of Friends, commonly called “Quakers” migrated from New England to the region at the onset of the 1800s. By 1825 several had settled around Wheatland, erecting a small house for community meetings. In 1854 this large, but simple building was built. The two entrances in the front are men and women, and the interior was commonly partitioned to keep them separate. The benches within are replicas.
  • Campbell House (Caledonia, NY – 1806) An H-timber-framed home, atypical of the region, was relocated from nearby Caledonia. The building is kept as a work-in-progress home, to demonstrate different stages of home-building to visitors.
  • Schoolhouse (Rush, NY – 1822) Benjamin Remington, Mary Sibley, and Miss Kingsbury were early teachers in this schoolhouse. The building also served as a Sunday School for its first year. The desks and benches within are reproductions.
  • Land Office (Alloway, NY – c.1835) Land agent Capt. Henry Towar (of Alloa, Scotland) built a homestead and grist mill along Flint Creek in 1794 (and a flour mill west of Alloway in 1823). At the time land was selling for $2 an acre, or the equivalent in wheat. The Greek Revival building also served as a post office, doctor’s office, butcher shop, and filling station. Towar also operated a distillery with Thomas Bradley.
  • Pioneer Farmstead consists of several structures from different times and origins. The Hetchler House (Scottsville, NY – 1806) is a one-room log house built by Nicholas Hetchler, who settled in Genesee County from Pennsylvania in 1787. He then migrated to Scottsville and built this farm home. The Burns family donated the building to the village after occupying it for nearly 100 years. With open hearth and clay-lined wooden chimney, it offers visitors insight into early pioneer home setups and cooking. The Early Framed Barn (Ontario County – c.1820) houses livestock (heirloom breeds from the Virginia coast) and as a working barn is often in a state of disarray. A Log Smokehouse (Monroe County – 1810) and Corncrib (reconstruction) can also be found nearby.
  • Blacksmith Shop (Pine Hill, Elba, NY – 1829) Samuel Laing opened the first shop in Pine Hill in 1819. In 1829 he constructed the village’s first blacksmith shop, which he operated for nearly 2 years before selling it to Samuel Parker. It then passed to William Sherman, then Nelson Sherman, and in 1846 was purchased by William Bradley. In 1849 Levi Rugg (of Vermont) purchased a wagon repair shop located just behind the building. By 1950 he had acquired the land that the blacksmithing shop was located on and operated it with his brother William for 12 years. The shop was operated by two succeeding blacksmiths from then on. The building is constructed of cobblestone, because… well… fire. Smithing work continues in the shop – stop in for demonstrations.
  • Kieffer House (Rush, NY – c.1814) The two-story log farmhouse was originally located adjacent to Honeoye Creek in Rush, where construction of I-390 was doomed to leave it demolished. The NYSDOT donated it to the museum. Today, a part of the Lehigh Valley trail crosses through the former farmstead.
  • Grieve’s Brewery (Geneva, NY – Reconstruction of 1803) The reconstructions are based on Thomas Douglas, the fifth Earl of Selkirk, who traversed parts of Canada and New York State studying American industry. In Geneva, New York (on the North end of Seneca Lake) he found 13 distilleries and one brewery. His detailed documentation and illustrations of the brewery were indispensable for the construction of this building. The original Geneva Brewery was owned by Walter Grieve, and the details from when it was originally constructed and how long it lasted have been lost. Today the brewery operates for demonstration purposes, producing a beer that probably isn’t great for consumption. The Hop House (Greece, NY – c.1870) next door does store hops. The Village hosts the Hop Harvest Festival in September.
  • Livery Barn (Scottsville, NY – pre-1800) An 18th-century barn. Not much to it.
  • Nathaniel Rochester House (Dansville, NY 1797) After originally visiting the region in 1800, the Colonel, now 50 years old, led a caravan of family and goods from Hagerstown, MD to Dansville in 1810. On his 70 acre tract of land stood his home which was originally owned by David Scholl, as well as the Pulteney saw and grist mills along the Canaseraga Creek. He constructed a paper mill on the other side of the creek, the area’s first. From his Dansville base, Rochester organized his plans for a 100-acre tract north at the Genesee Falls that he had purchased in 1803. He would reside in Dansville for 5 years. The home was restored in 1989.
  • Shaker Trustees’ Building (Sonyea, NY 1839)  A community of Shakers in Sodus, NY sold their land as they caught wind of a proposed canal to be built nearby. Not wanting to be in close proximity to the industrialized world, they purchased 1600 acres in Livingston County in 1837 and established a community in Sonyea. Eventually, the Erie Canal would be built nearby. The building was a base for the colony’s leadership, with the first floor acting as a business center for trade and relations with non-Shakers. The community grew to about 30 buildings in total, but their population declined drastically by the late 1800s. With procreation forbidden, that was an inevitable end. The remaining Shakers moved to join with another community in Watervliet (west of Troy). After their departure, this building was used as an epilepsy treatment facility into the 20th century, and then was occupied by the State Correctional Department. It was acquired by the village in 1984.

Antebellum Village (1830-1870)

Hay Bailing demonstration at the Genesee Country Village and MuseumAs more pioneers settled and infrastructure was established, towns began to form. In the Center Village (sometimes referred to as the Antebellum Village) you can enter the businesses, homes, and churches that encircle the square. Within the town square, you will often find activities and demonstrations.  Be sure to grab a schedule so you don’t miss anything.

  • Jones Farm (Orleans, NY – c.1820) The former homestead of Ezra Jones, who arrived in New York from Connecticut in 1805 after serving in the Revolutionary War. He purchased a plot of 120 acres to farm wheat, constructing a log cabin at first, and then building this 1.5 story home in the 1820s.  A kitchen was added in the 1830s. The working kitchen is often open to cooking demonstrations and cheese making (Wednesdays and Saturdays). The Corncrib was relocated from Livingston County (c.1830).
  • George Eastman Boyhood Home (Waterville, NY – c.1840) Kodak’s founder spent a handful of his childhood years in this compact Greek Revival home, on a 10-acre farm in Waterville, where his father worked as a nurseryman. George Eastman lived there with his mother, father, and two older sisters. His father established Eastman’s Commercial College in Rochester in 1842, and moved the whole family there in 1860. Stop in to the house to see quilting demonstrations.
  • Woodworker Shop (Reconstruction – appearance of 1850s)
  • Flint Hill Pottery (Reconstruction – appearance of 1845) The building is based on Rochester-area archaeological findings, principally Morganville Pottery, which operated from 1829 until the beginning of the 20th century. It produced common light brown stoneware jugs and pots with blue decorations, and pivoted to flowerpots and drain tiles in its later years. In 1974 an archaeological study was conducted on the site and it was entered into the National Register of Historic Places. Pottery produced here is not only used in the historic homes and shops around the village, but some pieces are for sale in the gift shop. A potter is often working the wheel on-premises and will be happy to explain the process.
  • Drug Store (Tyrone, NY – c.1840) This small Greek Revival style shop stems from near Keuka and Lamoka Lake where is stood vacant in a small country hamlet for nearly 25 years. A view of the interior can be seen from the dutch door at the entrance.
  • Dressmaker Shop (Roseboom, NY – c.1825) The small-framed 1.5 story structure is presented as the Millinery and Dressmaking Shop and represents a women-owned business in the 19th century. The building was used for several purposes during its existence in the small valley hamlet. A view of the interior can be seen from the dutch door at the entrance.
  • Cooper Shop (Stafford, NY – c.1805) In 1802, while working as a surveyor for Joseph Ellicott, Colonel William Rumsey of  Vermont bought a tract of land on what was known as Stafford Hill, where he settled. He constructed this building around 1805. The village cooper typically manufactured and sold barrels, kegs, and buckets made from wood and iron.
  • Printing Office (Caledonia, NY – c.1840) Once separate buildings in Caledonia, they were moved and joined into a larger house in 1850 where they served as a dining room and kitchen. Today they exhibit a mid-19th-century Washington type press, antique metal typefaces and woodcuts, and other artifacts from regional print shops. In 2002, the shop took on the role of publisher of an abolitionist newspaper inspired by the American Citizen, a publication of Warsaw and Perry, NY.  The press works and printing operations can be seen throughout the day.
  • Dress-maker shop at the Genesee Country Village and MuseumVillage Mercantile (Rush, NY – c.1830) Originally from Hart’s Corners (now a part of northern Rush) the building now serves as a gift shop. An added wing houses the interpreter’s period costumes.
  • Telegraph Office (Caledonia, NY – c.1820 & 1840) A building relocated from nearby Caledonia. A view of the interior can be seen from the dutch door at the entrance.
  • Hosmer’s Inn (Caledonia, NY – 1818) Major Isaac Smith settled in Caledonia around 1801 and constructed this inn years later. It served as a major stopover for further pioneers traversing Western New York. His son-in-law Sylvester Hosmer took over the business in 1814. The first floor has a large (for the day) kitchen, a taproom, two dining areas (one just for women), 5 rooms (one for the landlord) and a ballroom. After the hospitality business ended, it served as a private home and then a granary.
  • Humphrey House (Lima, NY – 1797) A framed farmhouse house containing 10 rooms was one of the first modern homes in the region in the late 1700s. A well-engineered structure it contained many modern features simply not present in the Genesee Valley at the time. A weaver is on-premises giving demonstrations.
  • Mackay House (Caledonia, NY – c.1814) A federal style home interpreted for 1840, it was originally built by John MacKay of Shamokin, Pennsylvania around 1814. Often labeled as a Scot he was an Irishman and at the time of his residence, he was the Caledonia Tunnel and Mining Company’s superintendent. While some of the rear of the building has been demolished, including the original kitchen, the interior and exterior are in fantastic shape and some of the original furniture is on display within.
  • Foster House (Pavilion, NY – c.1836) Charles Foster migrated to Genesee County with his family in 1826 and settled in a hilltop log cabin. Around 1836 he constructed this 1.5 story framed home. While the external details seem to be Federal in style, the overhanging roof and interior are more modern Greek Revival. It’s a good representation of a home built during a transition between the two architectural styles.
  • Altay Store (Altay, NY – c.1848) Roswell Sheperd, Josiah Jackson, and Charles Clark built and operated this general store (as well as a nearby sawmill and gristmill) in the town of Tyrone (east of Keuka Lake). It operated from around 1848 until 1899 when it was abandoned. Records found in the upper storeroom helped the curators reconstruct the store’s inventory. The counters, shelving, and cupboards are original. The building is in the Greek Revival style.
  • D. B.  Munger & Co. Confectionary (South Valley, NY – c.1850) Erected around 1840 in Roseboom (east of Cooperstown, near the Bear Swamp Forest) it served as a physician’s office for Doctor John M. Sterriker. Prior to 2014, this building was interpreted for visitors as a doctor’s office and in 2014 was switched over and furnished anew. Now interpreted as a functioning confectionery, it not only displays replica bottles and packages typically found in a shop of this type during the 19th century, but fresh baked cakes, tarts, and cookies using heirloom recipes are for sale.
  • Genesee Country Museum Organ GrinderWard-Hovey House (Stone Church, NY – c.1835) This simple farmhouse was built by Martin Ward around 1835 in what is now part of Bergen. It was expanded and renovated in the Greek Revival style sometime in the 1840s. The building is now used as a first-aid office and for staff.
  • Stow Insurance Office (Clyde, NY – 1825) Lawyers William and DeLancey Stow (a father and son team) formed this insurance and law practice in 1825. They sold insurance policies in the booming canal town. At the time they advertised the business as “The oldest insurance agency in the United States.” That claim is heavily disputed, but the building was apparently the oldest independent business office in the village.  William served as Trustee of the inaugural village in 1835 and DeLancey served as postmaster for a number of years. The practice continued until 1925.
  • Boot & Shoemaker’s Shop (East Avon, NY – c.1820) First used as a law office, it was then home to a bootmaker’s shop. A view of the interior can be seen from the dutch door at the entrance.
  • St. Freehan’s Roman Catholic Church (Chili, NY – 1854) While Catholics lived in the town of Chili well before the existence of a local church, they trekked to neighboring towns to worship. In 1854 the community constructed this church. Due to constant spring thaw flooding in the area, it was commonly referred to as “Swamp Church.” The growing congregation moved to the newly constructed St. Pius X in the 1950s. The pews here are from St. Mary’s Church in Scottsville and date back to the 1850s.
  • Thomson’s Tavern & Store (Riga, NY – c.1808) Joseph Thomson (of Massachusetts) built this 1.5 story tavern and store at the crossroads of two highly traveled routes. It served as an outpost for travelers and a gathering point and bakery for locals (a brick oven was in the basement). Business must have been good as he constructed a larger 2 story brick tavern across the road in 1811 (which later become Riga Academy in 1846). The original tavern passed to the Adam’s Family in 1845. Toys and activities from the era are now featured within.
  • Thomson Barn Activity Center (Pittsford, NY – c.1807)
  • Brooks Grove Methodist Church (Brooks Grove, NY – c.1844) Brooks Grove is named for Micah Brooks, a veteran of the War of 1812, pioneer, and early settler of Livingston County, who went on to serve in the 14th US Congress. This Greek Revival styled church has a wonderfully bright and soft interior with a choir loft, two aisles, and a working 1880 pump organ. This building and the parsonage were donated to the village by Brook’s great-grandson. The church is available for weddings.
  • Parsonage (Brooks Grove, NY – c.1835) The Brook’s Grove’s Methodist minister’s residence was built prior to the church itself by Henry Jarvis. It too is in the Greek Revival style but does have a few Federal style details such as the fanlight on the front face. The interior shows how a pastor would have lived at the time, with a parlor for study and receiving visitors.
  • Brooks Grove Methodist Church at the Genesee Country VillageLivingston-Backus House & Gardens (Rochester, NY – 1827-1838, 1850s interpretation)  In 1827, James K. Livingston purchased this land in Rochester’s 3rd ward from David Cathcart. A successful real estate investor and builder, Livingston began construction of the home around the beginning of 1828 (and it may have taken 5 or 6 years to complete). It was sold to Rochester businessman Joseph Strong. It was sold again in 1838 to Dr. Fredrick Backus (a prominent physician and then state senator). Backus added the porch, which he used as an office, moved the entrance from the front to the side of the home, and added more Greek Revival styling. The land was sold again to Phillip H. Curtis, founder of the Livingston Seminary. The kitchen wing was replaced with a brick addition to add rooms, and in 1860 it opened as a school for young women. Saved from demolition in the 1950s it was dismantled and stored for nearly 20 years, and eventually donated to the village.
  • Romulus Female Seminary (Romulus, NY – 1855) It served as a school for young women until 1883, and then it was bought by the Presbyterian Church of Romulus (founded 1802) and moved next to the main church that year.
  • Town Hall (South Lima, NY – c.1822) The building is actually a former inn and tavern owned by William Hamilton, one of the first settlers of Lima (which was then known as Goose Island). It was dismantled and moved to the village in the 1960s. The tower and clock were added in 1980 as it was re-interpreted as a town hall.
  • MacArthur House (York, NY – 1831) – This little green salt-box home has New England influence with its steep rooftops (for clearing snow) and steep back (often first meant as an open lean-to). Duncan J. MacArthur migrated to York in 1833 and established a leather-working business close to this home. MacArthur sold the house to John W. Stewart in 1854 and relocated to the village center. The house is now a base for the village’s summer camp and special events.
  • Post Office/Store (Brooks Grove, NY – c.1834) Gideon Granger, a lawyer and politician from Connecticut, became Postmaster General in 1801, serving until 1814 when he left office and moved to Canandaigua, NY settling in what is now the Granger Homestead. He helped establish a postal network in the region, including those in Genesee and Livingston Counties, and one that linked Mt. Morris and Nunda through Brooks Grove. At one time this office was attached to the Jarvis House that is also present in the village.
  • Tailor Shop (Garbutt, NY – 1849) The smallest in the village, it is also one of the more recent to be installed, having been relocated from Garbutt, near Oatka Creek Park, in 2005.
  • Gunsmith & Cabinetmaker Shop (Dalton, NY – c.1870) Jonathan and Joseph Thompson operated a general repair business out of this building in the late 1800s. On display are a variety of guns similar to those that would have been produced and repaired here, and came from the Amos Wood Gunshop in North Hamden, NY.
  • Tinsmith Shop (Buckbee’s Corners, NY – c.1860) Now a part of West Chili, Buckbee’s Corners was one of the first settlements in the area of Chili. This shop was originally a wagon shop and blacksmith. You can pay a small fee and create a tin ornament or destroy a picnic table.
  • Silver Baseball Field (Rules from 1867) This 19th-century style rural ballpark is surrounded by farm fields and hosts teams from the US and Canada. There are stands and a snack bar.  You can catch games most weekends from May to October.

Turn of the Century (1860-1900)

gaslight district home at the Genesee Country Village and MuseumAs the nation became more industrialized and wealthy, so did the home. This neighborhood showcases two upper-class homes, a music hall, and a beautiful Victorian pavilion-style restaurant.

  • Hyde House (Friendship, NY – c.1870) The octagonal home was popularized by Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist from Cohocton, NY in the mid-1800s. Corporal Erastus Hyde, a native of Friendship built this 2-story gas-lit home shortly after returning from the Civil War and lived there with his wife Julia. Erastus farmed the land and owned part of a local shingle mill. Julia was an ordained Methodist minister. They were both spiritualists and happened to pass within a few days of each other, feeding into a legend that they haunted the abandoned structure for decades after. The interior is lavishly decorated.
  • Hamilton House (Campbell, NY – 1870) A native of Steuben County, John D. Hamilton, got his start as a shoemaker in the town of Campbell (south of Keuka Lake). In 1865 he began tanning leather, and the following year partnered with other New York businessmen to form Cohocton Tannery, which operated out of Campbell until 1890. In 1868 the partnership opened a larger tannery in Emporium, PA. and Hamilton was president. The Victorian Italianate style mansion is an excellent example of affluence in the region during the late 19th century.  The front yard landscaping is based on a photograph.
  • Davis Opera House (South Butler, NY – 1884) In the 19th century, the town of Butler was growing and progressive, having the first ordained woman minister (Antoinette Brown Blackwell) in 1853. The town was home to a cash register manufacturer (f. 1896), a porch shade manufacturer (f. 1898), the Jerome Hibbard Basket Factory, and many smaller enterprises. This building, situated in the hamlet of South Butler, served as a drug store (and later grocery store) with the upper floor used for community gatherings and performances.  Today, the first floor contains a museum of curiosities. The upstairs performance area is host to various musical performances and talks throughout the season. Check the daily schedule for times.
  • Pavilion Gardens Restaurant While it was built for the village and contains a modern kitchen that serves up delicious, sandwiches, beer, and ice cream, it is also very photogenic and worth a mention.

Everything else

The John L. Wehle Gallery contains hunting, sports, wildlife, and conservation artwork from the 17th to the 20th centuries, and is considered to be the best of its type. Also within the gallery is the Susan Greene Costume Collection, exhibiting thousands of items from the 19th century.

The Nature Center features 175 acres of wooded trails over reclaimed farmland. The Nature Center building houses information about the trails, flora, and fauna and is a base for the many education programs held there.

The Great Meadow will be the first thing you see as you make your way through the entrance. The giant gazebo makes for a great photo opportunity. Around the meadow will be the gift shop, Depot Restaurant, Freight House (for local beer and wine), Exhibition Barn (available for parties), a beautiful carriage museum (also available for parties), and the field itself is often the spot for events and festivities.

Recommended things to photograph

civil War horse at the Genesee Country VillageLivestock at the Pioneer Farm

A good spot to photograph the various chickens, pigs, cows, geese, sheep, and oxen.

Independence Day Naturalization Ceremony

Want smiles in your photos? Every July 4th features an oath-taking ceremony in the Antebellum Village for some of our newest United States citizens. Check the calendar for specific event dates and details.

Civil War Re-enactment & Encampment

The two-day event features camps, re-enactments, demonstrations, and is easily one of the busiest days at the village.  Check the calendar for specific event dates and details.

Agricultural Fair

Check out the livestock and fresh farm goods area in the Great Meadow, while the Mayor’s Cup Championship takes place on the ball field. The Cast Iron Chef Completion features local chefs competing using 19th century stock and equipment. You’ll find many demonstrations around the village on these days. One of our favorites is the apple cider making process – 19th century style. Check the calendar for specific event dates and details.

Pottery Making

When the potter is on site, stop in to snap shots of the clay being worked, and the stacks of plates, bowls, and cups ready for the kiln.

Livingston-Backus Heirloom Gardens

A classical decorative garden with federal style garden house and wisteria-covered pergola.

Livingston-Backus Kitchen

There’s usually something being prepared in this relatively large kitchen.

Some Places Around the Village to Photograph

GCV&M beginnings

In 1916, Louis A. Wehle became the youngest brewmaster in New York State as he took the reins at the Genesee Brewery in Rochester, New York. When prohibition was passed as the 18th Amendment in 1919, Wehle established the Wehle Baking Company in Buffalo, specializing in home delivered fresh baked goods. The baking business took off and by the time prohibition ended in 1932, Wehle was able to buy the Genesee Brewery property. Year-after-year, the post-repeal success was furthered in part because Louis Wehle’s son, John “Jack” Wehle joined the business in 1938 at the age of 22. By 1959 Jack was CEO of the Brewery, which launched the famous Genesee Cream Ale shortly after.

Experiencing a growing and industrializing Rochester, Jack foresaw the disappearance of many of the region’s architectural treasures to make way for concrete office buildings and parking lots. An avid art enthusiast, he saw Genesee Valley architecture as works of art by many unnamed craftsmen. Several brewing companies in the US were investing heavily in family-friendly venues, such as resorts, amusements parks, and stadiums as a second revenue source, but also as a way to push beer sales. In 1966, Jack hired Stuart Bolger to create a company museum.  Mr. Bolger, who was an architectural historian, broadened Mr. Wehle’s vision to include the development of a re-created “living history” village. Together they cultivated the vision to preserve, educate, and entertain by creating a small country village with examples of 19th-century Genesee Country architecture. A Sporting Art Collector himself, Jack also dreamed of having a public exhibition of his collected works.

The effort to establish the village and gallery was founded in 1966, and it took many years for buildings to be acquired and relocated to the property – a former farm in the hamlet of Mumford, Town of Wheatland, just southwest of Rochester. By the Museum’s opening to the public in 1976, three dozen historic buildings were on the property. Today there are 68 making it the largest living history museum in the state.

Altay Store Original
Altay Store Reconstruction
Blacksmith Shop Original
Blacksmith Shop Reconstruction
Boot and Shoemaker Shop Original
Brooks Grove Church Original
Brooks Grove Church Bell
Moving Hetchler House on a Truck
Hetchler House Reconstruction
Davis Opera House Original
Davis Opera House Reconstruction
Drugstore Reconstruction
George Eastman Home Original
George Eastman Home Reconstruction
Foster Home Original
Foster Home Reconstruction
Gazebo Construction
Gazebo Construction
Hamilton House Original
Hamilton House Reconstruction
Hosmer Inn on the Move
Humphrey House on Truck
Humphrey House in Transit
Humphrey Reconstruction - New Foundation
Hyde House Original
Hyde (Octagon House) Dismantling
Hyde (Octagon House) Reconstruction
Hyde House Outhouse in Transit
Insurance Office
Insurance Office Original
Jones Farm Original
Jones Farm Reconstruction
Land Office Original
Land Office Reconstruction
Livingston House Original
Livingston Garden House Original
Livingston House in Pieces
Livingston House Reconstruction
MacKay House Original
MacKay House Ready for a Move
MacKay House Reconstruction
Post Office (left) & Parsonage (right)
Red Schoolhouse Relocated
Shaker Trustees' Building Original
Tin Shop Original
Town Hall Reconstruction
Ward Hovey House
Ward Hovey House
Altay Store

These photographs are from the archives of the late Stuart Bolger. Mr. Bolger was the architectural historian responsible for locating, securing and managing the transport of buildings to the GCVM grounds beginning in 1966. Each building was documented carefully and we are happy to share a small portion of his collection. Prior to his passing in 2011, he loaned his collection of slides and photographs to Ruby Foote.  Mrs. Foote scanned each item in the collection and NYFalls.com is using the photographs with her permission. 

The John L. Wehle Gallery continues to show Jack’s 19th-century sportsman art collection and has added the Susan Greene Costume Collection.

John “Jack” Wehle died in 1993, and his son John L “Ted” Wehle Jr. took over both the Genesee Brewery and the museum.

In 2017 Elizabeth “Becky” Wehle, Jack’s granddaughter, became president and CEO of the museum.

Photography Tips for the Historic Village

Barrel at the GCVMNatural Light Only. Tripods and flash photography are not permitted, so you’ll have to shoot indoors in low, natural light. Bring a high speed lens and crank your ISO. You’ll get more keepers if you also have image stabilization. I recommend shooting more than just one shot of everything, just in case the first comes out too soft.

Early Bird. Getting there for the 10 am opening most likely means less crowds and better views.

Keep an eye out for smaller events and demonstrations. There’s often more than just the prime attractions. Small concerts, talks (which usually have visual aids), and tours. These often lead to photo opportunities others miss.

Carry a long lens.  While you can get relatively close to most exhibits and events, you may benefit from a little reach. Ball games, some of the roped off rooms, and livestock to name a few.

Ask.  The interpreters are pretty used to their photos being taken, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask if you may take their photo. Sometimes it results in a smile.

Support the GCV&M

With more than enough to see in a day and unique events happening all year, membership can not only save you on admission, it gets you discounts on food, drinks, and merchandise as well as access to special events at both the Nature Center and The Village. Membership is also a part of the Empire State Museums Reciprocal Program, which gets you discounts at over 20 local museums and exhibits. Join today.

Genesee Country Village and Museum Membership