The history of numbers 22-28 Main Street in Cortland, like several other addresses previously covered, starts with a house. Sylvester Blair (-1836) built his home on the property “consisting of a large and advantageously situated village lot” with a brick house, neighboring brick store (what would be no.18), extensive out buildings and well selected orchard. Blair was partnered with his brother-in-law, Asahel Lyman, in the mercantile business and in 1829 originated a pottery establishment located on the corner of Graham and Groton Avenues. Unfortunately, he did not have long to enjoy success for he died of fits (a seizure) in 1836 while traveling onRead More →

This location has the distinction of having had one of the last remaining family residences in Cortland’s business district! Believed to have been built in the 1830s, what is commonly known as the Keator House was torn down in 1937. But let us start at the beginning: The first owner that we can attribute to the home is Tercius Eels, a private in the War of 1812, Cortland’s Poor Master in 1831, and additionally active as postmaster, Whig leader, Town Clerk, and as a merchant. Eels sold to Oren Stimson, who served as County Clerk and kept a dry goods store. Harmon S. Conger boughtRead More →

The beginning of the history of #3-5 Main Street overlaps with that of #1 covered several weeks ago ( Joshua Ballard is quoted in H.P. Smith’s “History of Cortland County” as saying: “The corner lot where stands the noble brick edifice of Major Aaron Sager and the Dexter House, was once occupied by a tavern building of ordinary size, owned by Grove Gillett, with whom Samuel Nelson, afterwards one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, took board for a time.” This seems to be a reference to an earlier building, perhaps latter replaced by the Barnard block seen in theRead More →

  The first structure at 1 Main Street for which we have decent documentation is the Bernard Block, which according to the 1863 map included a boot and shoe shop, a milliner’s shop, and a dry goods and grocery store. D. Morris Kurtz briefly describes the building in his book “Past and Present: A Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Cortland, NY” (1883) as being three stories high in front with a sloping roof and only two stories in the rear. It was apparently one of the most prominent buildings in the village at the time, although rather stunted when compared to the building that replacedRead More →

It is a reality in Central New York that the official coming of spring does not banish the possibility of snow, as we were reminded this week! It certainly makes one long for summer sunshine and warmth, barbeques, and fun in the great outdoors. A long-time favorite spot of Cortlandites for such activities is of course Little York Lake! The history of Little York Lake and the surrounding area begins of course with the Haudenosaunee who it is said had a legend about the nearby Mt. Onagarechny (Mt. Toppin) as the location where pumpkins, corn, and tobacco first grew and were discovered. This legend wasRead More →