by Joyce Rapp, Past Lima Historian
Standing at the four corners of Lima, with its stop light and store fronts, it isn't easy to visualize these same highways as ancient paths worn deep by Iroquois moccasins. Although Jesuit missionaries preached their gospel here during the seventeenth century, the first permanent white settler didnot arrive until 1788. Others soon followed and organized a governing board, built churches and a town house with a classroom for its youngsters.
After the first general store was built on East Main Street in 1794, a dry good store, meat market, inns and a livery stable soon opened their doors near the four corners. Although the village is still surrounded by 12,048 acres of agricultural land with ponds edging its eastern border, most of the stores and restaurants are still located in that area.
Those early pioneers also built the Presbyterian Church in 1802. Other churches: St. Rose Catholic Church, Lima Baptist and Elim Gospel Church presently serve the religious needs of the community. And church groups overflowed from each congregation followed by: Quaere Club, Rotary, Masons, Veterans groups, Scouting, Friends of a blue ribbon Library and the Crossroads Council, Lima's Chamber of Commerce.
From the first classroom in the old town house, Lima's education program expanded to a College Street school (today's Lima Primary), St. Rose School, Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, the first co-ed school in the country, and Genesee College. During that period, Lima was viewed as the educational center of New York State. Later, Genesee Jr. College, Elim Bible Institute, Lima Christian School and Genesee Community College joined our education circuit.
History seems to be repeating itself: in 2009, ninety-three percent of the Honeoye Falls-Lima graduating class entered college the following autumn; many with advanced designation and honors. In addition, our high school was recognized by Newsweek magazine as a Silver Medal School.
Lima has been called many names: Brick School House Corner, Mighell's Gore and Charleston. But whatever the name, Lima is a community where neighbors reach out because they care.