In August of 1865, George C. and Mary “Polly” (Temple) Putnam purchased 30 acres on the lakefront in Geneva Township. This purchase included the house built in 1823 by Solomon Fitch, the present day Jennie Munger Gregory Museum site.
The family returned to Lafayette, Pa., sold their home there, and moved into the former Fitch house in 1866. When George C. first saw the area, he commented “What a grand view!” They named their place the Grandview Farm.
The Putnam family had four children at the time: Estella, Ida, Flora, and George Elbert. A fifth child, Charles, was born after settling into their new home. The children all attended the school house that still stands in the Geneva Township Park on the bank of Lake Erie. The Putnams were charter members of the North Star Grange which was originally located on Rt. 534, Geneva. George C. served as chaplain and the grange provided a social life for the community.
The Putnam family children are as follows:
- Estella Viola married Charles R. Palmer
- Ida Avis married Warren Spencer
- Flora Alice married James McManus
- George Elbert married Alice M. Story
- Charles Richard married Clara Belle Dunham
Ida and Warren built the Shady Beach boarding house, which stood where the village’s recreation park now stands.
Flora Alice and James lived on South Spencer and owned the Moon Glow cottages.
The Palmers moved to Connecticut. George E. and Alice lived in Ashtabula. Charles and Clara Belle were Boston, Mass., residents.
Charles Richard Putnam compiled and published a Geneva City Directory in 1887-1888 when just 21 years old. He married in 1896.
After the death of George C. in 1908, George Elbert purchased the farm from his siblings and in 1914 developed “Grandview Allotment.” Reserving the farmhouse situated on two acres, the balance was laid out with residential lots on the two lanes he named “Putnam Lane” and “Grandview Lane,”which still bear their names today.
George Elbert’s daughter, Florence Ford, later built Ford Cottages with her husband, John, on the property she purchased from her father on Putnam Lane. Florence’s daughter, Grace (Bunny) Payne and her husband Hugh, later moved to the property and managed the cottages.
These cottages stood across from the Jennie Munger Gregory Museum and slightly to the west (South Putnam Drive). The house that John and Florence Ford built is still standing; it is on the south side of Lake Road, west of Putnam, gray, one story.
Most of the Ford cottages have been removed due to deterioration. In the spring of 2016, the remaining cottages were the This’ll Do (yellow trim) and Putnam (orange trim). They were slated for demolition in 2016.
Prepared by Louise Bergeman, February 2016, for the Summer Fun Heritage Trail.