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Generous Bequest Supports Historic Geneva

Jul 28th, 2022

Geneva, N.Y.: Historic Geneva is pleased to announce the receipt of a generous bequest from the late Robert “Jim” Brennan, Jr. The bequest will support deferred maintenance projects at the Geneva History Museum and Rose Hill Mansion. 

Raised in Geneva, Jim moved to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1959. A graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans, his interests included neighborhood revitalization and historic preservation. For many years he led walking tours of downtown St. Petersburg. Jim’s primary ties to Geneva came from his mother, Joan Blair Brennan. Born and raised in Geneva, Mrs. Brennan graduated from Geneva High School and William Smith College before marrying fellow Genevan Robert Brennan. According to her son, Mrs. Brennan was a “Market Basket” girl. Her mother was Mr. Hovey’s secretary and the Hoveys were her godparents. When her parents retired to St. Petersburg in the late 1950s, Mrs. Brennan followed with her husband and son. Geneva, however, always remained home for the Brennan family.

“We communicated through letters, and it reminded me of an old-fashioned courtship that you see in the movies,” Historic Geneva Executive Director Kerry Lippincott stated. “Through his letters, Mr. Brennan shared memories of his mother. Usually, we’re the ones telling the stories, so I enjoyed receiving his letters and getting to know the Brennan family. Their story is very much a Geneva one and enforces the idea that no matter where you go home is always home.”

“The board, staff and I were very much surprised by Mr. Brennan’s generous bequest,” Lippincott explained. “Thanks to his gift, many deferred maintenance projects at Geneva History Museum and Rose Hill Mansion will be completed. These bricks and mortar projects are essential for us to continue our mission of telling Geneva’s stories.” The Rose Hill projects are rehabilitating the mansion’s belvedere and replacing the main roof. At the Geneva History Museum, projects include replacing the roofs, installing an HVAC system, window treatments, updating the bathrooms, upgrading the electrical system, phone, and internet, and painting the exterior of the building.

“We are all so grateful for this generous gift from Mr. Brennan, as it will enable Historic Geneva to improve and update all our properties. This has been a goal of the board for several years and enables us to proceed,” Historic Geneva Board President Josephine Perry stated.

For further information, please contact Historic Geneva's Executive Director, Kerry Lippincott at 315-789-5151 or

Located in the Geneva History Museum at 543 South Main Street in Geneva, New York, Historic Geneva tells the stories of Geneva at the Geneva History Museum, Rose Hill Mansion, and Johnston House, and online at

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