Hornell City Hall is located at 82 Main Street, Hornell, NY 14843; phone: 607-324-7421.
Following the American Revolution, six million acres of Seneca Indian land was purchased by the State of Massachusetts and the land adjacent to the Genesee River was eventually sold to land speculators Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham. Some of their land was sold to Robert Morris, and finally, the land along the Canisteo River where Hornell is now located was purchased by a group of investors from Pennsylvania in 1790. The early settlers of the area, originally known as Upper Canisteo, included Benjamin Crosby, followed by Oliver Harding and Uriah Stephens.
In the early 1790s, George Hornell, the son of Swedish immigrants and a native of York, Pennsylvania, arrived in the area and purchased several thousand acres. He erected one of the area's first grist and saw mills and by 1800 operated a tavern at his home in what is now North Main Street in Hornell. Before that time the nearest grist mill was at Elmira, then called Newtown, 60 miles away. The settlers in Upper Canisteo would load rafts with grain and take them down the Canisteo, Tioga and Chemung Rivers to Newtown, and after exchanging grain for flour, meat, and other supplies, would then make the long journey home which was said to have taken a week's time.