Hahns’ home history in book

Claudia Loucks
Angie Snook, left, curator at the Geneseo Historical Museum is shown with Jean Hahn in front of Hahn’s Geneseo home. Hahn has written and published a history of the 160-year old home, which will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 11. All proceeds will benefit the Geneseo Historical Museum.

When Jean Hahn began to write the history of the house where she and her husband Jerry raised their two sons, she intended for the information to be a keepsake for them.

The couple became so intrigued by their findings, they want to share the history inside the walls of their Italianate-design house, and will open their home to visitors for a historical tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 11. All proceeds will benefit the Geneseo Historical Museum.  Children 12 years and older and adults are invited to take the tour of the house at 113 S. Ward St.

In February of last year, Hahn began writing the history of the house which has now been published, and she has given copies to the Geneseo Museum and to the Geneseo Public Library.

“My purpose in writing the history was to document the physical changes that have been made to the house since its original construction began in 1858,” she said.  “As I continued writing, I found that documenting the physical history became secondary to the stories of the people who have called this house a home.”

She included narrative details, documents, and photographs of the house and families who lived there in her history book. The documents were collected in travels that took the Hahn couple from Geneseo to Maine.

At the historical open house, Hahn will share the history of Matthew and Helena Latham who emigrated from Ireland and Isle of Man to Geneseo to build a home for their growing family. 

“They met a tragic death only two years after coming to Geneseo,” Hahn said. 

In her research, she also discovered one of the subsequent owners, John W. Goss, who built an addition to the original house, was a young and industrious community-minded Civil War veteran who traveled to Maine to bring back a bride, Celeste Chamberlain.

Goss’ great-granddaughter will be at the open house on July 11 to share the history of the Goss/Chamberlain family.

 Hahn said Goss and sons owned and operated the lumber company in Geneseo, opened by Goss’ uncle in 1855.

“A third family, George W. and Jessie (Sears) Fehlman, and their four children lived in the house for 40 years and a granddaughter of the Fehlmans’ also will be at the open house to share her memories.

The open house will feature a display of memorabilia discovered in the house by the? Hahns.

“We have lived in the house nearly 40 years, and we have discovered clues of the changes that were made due to improved heating, lighting, plumbing, and lifestyles,” Hahn said.  “Little did I realize the drama and history of those who lived in the house would be so compelling.

What began as a keepsake for sons Andrew and?Ben has resulted in a book titled, “The House at 113 South Ward Street.”