When alums came back to Geneva for Reunion 2008, they were expecting a change in place, not a change in time period. But on a guided tour of Rose Hill Mansion, alumni and alumnae found themselves transported into the late 18th century while walking through a national historic landmark.
The mansion was constructed in the 1830’s by the Strong family. Built in the popular Greek revival style, the mansion references the democracy of ancient Greece and, at the time it was built, was a political statement as well as an extraordinary example of early American workmanship and artistry. Boasting 26 rooms, a carriage house, extensive grounds and a boxwood garden, Rose Hill Mansion reflects an important part of Geneva’s history.
Alums toured many of the rooms in the mansion and marveled at the ornate Empire furnishings that decorate the interior. “This is very informative, and the house is just beautiful,” said Beverly Gale Goode ’63, who now lives in Oregon. “I’m amazed by all the history here.”
“This is a part of Geneva I have never seen before,” said Marcia Burgeson Novey ’61.
Alums demonstrated their quick wit and scholarly curiosity during the tour, eager to share their impressions and personal anecdotes. Goode, an English major and religious studies minor while at the Colleges, drew the group’s attention to unique architectural aspects of the mansion, while Novey enlightened tour members on the cultural atmosphere of the time period.
Honorary Trustee Barbara Lynch Springstead ’57, L.H.D. '90, an active member of the Geneva community, led the group and also shared stories of how the history of Rose Hill is intertwined with the history of the Colleges, both through people and possessions.
“I’ve been doing this tour for quite awhile now, and it’s always fun to have people who knew this property when it was a wreck and falling apart,” Springstead said. “They share stories of impromptu picnics at the falling down property and it’s great fun to show them how much the mansion has been renovated and changed!”
Those interested in learning more or wishing to visit Rose Hill Mansion can contact the Geneva Historical Society by telephone at (315) 789-5151 or via their Web site firstname.lastname@example.org