The village was founded in 1788 by Paul Davison and Jonathan Gould, veterans of the Sullivan Campaign, who had seen the area during the American Revolution. The Village of Lima was organized in 1797 as the "Village of Charleston," but in 1808 the name was changed to "Lima" (after Old Lyme, Connecticut). (For that reason, the name of the village is currently pronounced like the name of the bean, not like the name of the city in Peru).
The Genesee Wesleyan Seminary (1830) / Genesee College (1849) was one of the first co-educational schools in the country when it first opened in 1822. Eventually, determined by a Methodist-Episcopal convention in 1870, the college was shut in favor of the newly developed Syracuse University (1871), over the protests of the residents of Lima. The campus is now home to Elim Bible Institute.
National Register of Historic Places
The following sites are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.