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Holland Land Company: No. 4 in What Made Genesee County Famous

By Philip Anselmo

The Holland Land Company has made the list of The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous, landing in fourth place. This picture to the right may look familiar. For those who don't already know, the Holland Land Office Museum inhabits the very same building that was used by the Dutch investors who hired none other than Joseph Ellicott to survey their land purchase for them back in the 18th century.

Pat Weissend, museum director:

The origins of the Holland Land Company go back to 1789, when four Dutch investment firms sent an agent to the United States in search of investment opportunities. The Club of Four, as it was called then, started to buy large tracts of American land in 1792. Two more investment firms joined the original four, creating the Club of Six. The six firms decided to merge their individual holdings into one stock company, and so the Holland Land Company was formed on November 20, 1795.

In September 1797, the company purchased 3.3 million acres of Western New York land from Robert Morris. The plan was to sell off the land in large tracts to speculators and make a quick profit, but the economy changed and they were forced to hang onto the land, develop it and sell it over the next 40 years.

For more info on the Holland Land Company and Joseph Ellicott, please visit the museum's Web site—there's plenty of interesting links and podcasts and histroy lessons—and be sure to keep up with the countdown. Only three more to go!

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