Dansville History

Dansville by Decade

Compiled by David Gilbert of the Dansville Area Historical Society

The 1790’s–Valley first settled by Cornelius McCoy and family. Others followed, including Faulkners, Hammonds, Perines. Village named for Captain Dan Faulkner, storekeeper and militia leader. “Breakout Creek” bursts forth from East Hill.

The 1800’s–Sawmills and flour mills spring up around local creeks. Colonel Nathaniel Rochester moves to Dansville, will build first Dansville paper mill.

The 1810’s–Locals fight in War of 1812. Rufus Stone founds Stone’s Falls. A young Millard Fillmore lives in Dansville area for six months. First local Masonic lodge organized. James Faulkner takes up medicine in Dansville.

The 1820’s–Livingston County created; Dansville annexed into town of Sparta. Joshua Shepard builds Main Street homestead. First church built by German Lutherans. Bradley paper mill founded.

The 1830’s–First newspaper, Village Chronicle, is short-lived. First fire company formed. Warren Commins establishes a foundry in Comminsville. Bank of Dansville begun by Bradner family.

The 1840’s–Dansville branch of Genesee Valley Canal completed, causes village population to double. George Hyland’s gang wins “battle” to connect Main Street basin to canal. Town of North Dansville formed. Village of Dansville incorporated. The “Stone” mill on Quay Street is built by Elihu Stanley. Greenmount Cemetery laid out. First National Bank established by Faulkners.

The 1850’s–D. M. Pierson and Olney Maxwell start local nursery industry. The Dansville Herald (later the Express) is first published. Half of business district destroyed in 1854 fire. “Our Home On The Hillside” water-cure founded by Dr. James Caleb Jackson.

The 1860’s–Dozens of local men fight in Civil War. Grape-growing on East Hill begun by Dr. F. M. Perine. Seminary building erected. Dansville Advertiser published by A. O. Bunnell.

The 1870’s–Dansville’s first railroad completed, goes to Mt. Morris. First water system completed. Hyland House, Maxwell Block built; the latter houses first library. Clara Barton comes to Dansville, lives here for ten years. Canal closed.

The 1880’s–Lackawanna railroad built across East Hill. Jackson Water Cure destroyed in fire, replaced by brick Sanatorium. Chaper No. 1, American Red Cross founded in Dansville. Both banks fail. Blum Shoe Manufacturing Company begun. Union Free School built.

The 1890’s–Kelly Brothers Nurseries founded. F. A. Owen begins publishing Normal Instructor magazine. Holy Cross Cemetery dedicated. First reservoir completed. First hospital set up by Dr. F. R. Driesbach in old Seminary building.

The 1900’s–Brae Burn golf course laid out. Pell Foster founds Power Specialty Co. Soldiers Monument dedicated. Klink Motor Car Co. set up by John Klink. Board of Trade established.

The 1910’s–Main Street paved. Local doughboys fight in WWI. Spanish flu strikes Dansville. Daniel Goho post, American Legion established. King’s Daughter’s Home opens. Lloyd Shay begins trucking farmers’ produce.

The 1920’s–Dansville General Hospital opens. Rotary Club organized. Foster Wheeler created from Power Specialty merger. Stony Brook Glen becomes a state park. New high school built. Bernarr MacFadden takes over health resort. Dansville Airport dedicated. Library moves to Shepard house.

The 1930’s–Thomas P. Reilly invents Ra-Pid-Gro plant food. Post Office building dedicated. Depression hits hard; Transient Camp set up in Stony Brook State park.

The 1940’s–22 local lives lost in WWII. School nickname “Mustangs” chosen. Lions Club organized. Williams Park deeded to village by Pell W. Foster. Red Cross gets Noyes family residence.

The 1950’s–TV comes to Dansville. Last local paper mill closes. New Town Hall, Elementary School built. Dansville Chamber of Commerce created.

The 1960’s–Lackawanna Railroad discontinued. Senior High and Primary Schools built. Dansville Area Historical Society formed. First annual Dogwood Festival. Dansville-Wayland Expressway segment completed. Forbes Products opens a Dansville plant.

The 1970’s–Castle-on-the-Hill closes. Noyes Memorial Hospital built. Shopping plazas and fast food restaurants spring up near I-390 exit. WDNY goes on the air. Inaugural Oktoberfest held.

The 1980’s–Thomas P. Reilly Memorial Medical Arts Building dedicated. Labor Day balloon rallies take off. Industrial park proposed. New prison at Sonyea. Foster Wheeler hit hard by recession, but recovers. Faulkner Apartments open.

The 1990’s–Forbes Products expands. Downtown revitalization projects bloom. Wilcox Press closes; building gutted by fire. Dansville celebrates its Bicentennial.

Historical Tour of Dansville

by Richard D. Bondi