Geneseo, Illinois is a city in Henry County, Illinois, United States. The population was 6,586 at the 2010 census, up from 6,480 in 2000. Geneseo is 20 miles east of the Quad Cities, at the intersection of Interstate 80, U.S. Route 6 and Illinois Route 82.
Geneseo is conveniently located on Interstate 80 just 20 minutes by interstate highway to a major international airport. There are eleven major Midwest cities located within 250 miles of Geneseo, including Chicago. The Mississippi River is a short distance away and easily accessible by one of the three major interstates: Interstate 80; Interstate 280; and Interstate 74.
Geneseo is known for its beautifully restored Victorian homes on tree-lined streets reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting. A thriving retail business and colorful downtown, coupled with old-fashioned festivals, parades, a local theater group and ice cream socials complete the picture of life in Geneseo.
The City of Geneseo unifies key stakeholders and collaborates to develop and drive sustainable growth, while maintaining our small town atmosphere. Together our work will focus on Geneseo being recognized as an inviting, welcoming community of choice for people to live, work, play and grow.
“Community of Choice:” Geneseo is viewed as providing sustainable and safe, family-friendly neighborhoods, connectedness (technology), medical/healthcare services, recreational opportunities, shopping, restaurants, and a positive experience for all who live, work and play in Geneseo.
Geneseo was founded as a Christian colony in 1836 by seven families of the Congregationalist denomination from Geneseo, New York and Bergen, New York seeking to establish a “church in the wilderness”. Roderick R. Stewart, one of the city’s founding members, named the town Geneseo after the settlers’ town of origin in New York. The name “Geneseo” is a variation of the Iroquois word Genesee, meaning “shining valley” or “beautiful valley”.
Planning for the colony began as early as 1829. In May 1836 the founding seven families of Geneseo sent an exploratory committee to survey the precise location of their new community in the Old Northwest. This group, known as the “New York Committee”, or “New York Group” was composed of John C. Ward, Lukas T. Seyller, and Roderick R. Stewart. Advised at a meeting in Chicago by the future Governor of Illinois, Thomas Ford, the small committee rode by wagon and horseback to investigate the 2,000-acre tract. The transaction of the land was completed at a place called Brandenburg’s Tavern in what is today Colona Township and purchased at a dollar and a quarter per acre.
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