GENESEO — The grand McClellan house at 26 Main Street will be getting another facelift after centuries of renovations, repairs, and repurposing.
SUNY Geneseo’s Campus Auxiliary Services, who bought the house in 2015, said that the renovations will preserve the historical integrity of the building.
“The McClellan house is a very visible building on Main Street, and as a part of Geneseo’s historic district, it is important that the exterior of the building strengthen and reflect the historical nature of the community,” said Mark Scott, Executive Director of SUNY Geneseo’s Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS).
Two public meetings will be at the McClellan House on Feb. 4 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and on Feb. 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to collaborate on the renovations. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the house’s architect and director of facilities, as well as view architectural plans.
CAS Marketing Coordinator Rebecca Stewart said that when CAS bought the building it was in a serious state of disrepair.
“When purchased, the state of building was shoddy,” said Stewart. “The foundation of the house, especially outside, was deteriorating to the point where it was not safe for occupancy.”
Since being purchased by CAS, the McClellan House has undergone the first two phases of renovation, which functioned to stabilize the otherwise deteriorating building. The current renovation phase, which the community meetings will address, includes restoring the house and impacting the building’s exterior.
In addition to its status as a lasting structure in the community, the McClellan House houses the Lockhart Art Gallery on its first floor, which serves as a cultural and education resource for Geneseo with changing exhibitions. On the second floor is the Department of Education’s Soaring Stars program and space where the rare instrument recordings of SUNY Geneseo ethnomusicologist James Kimball are being preserved, thanks to a grant from the GRAMMY Foundation.
The McClellan house itself, however, has a history dating back to the 19th century.The house was originally constructed in 1825 and was extensively renovated many times, most notably by Benjamin F. Angel, who rebuilt it in 1845 after a fire. The house was modernized in the early twentieth century and sold to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in 1953 to be used as a Parish Center. The property later became a private residence until 2000, when the Geneseo Foundation sought to renovate the house for its current use.
The McClellan Hosue is named after Robert and Jeanette McClellan and their family, who are remembered for their support of the arts, the college and the local community.