Adventuring Inside Cortland County Historical Society: Dr. James H. Hoose, First Principal of Cortland Normal School. Another esteemed figure in the history of Cortland County is Dr. James H. Hoose (1835-1915). Although not a native of Cortland, Dr. Hoose is known to us as the first principal of the Cortland Normal School, elected in 1869 and serving for over twenty years until differences with the school board led to his dismissal in 1891. “Cortland College: An Illustrated History” by Leonard F. Ralston provides a fantastic overview of the character of Hoose and his influence as “one of the most controversial figures in American teacher education,”Read More →

  According to the list I’ve been using that gives some provenance for the streets in Cortland, James A. Calvert is the only person to have two streets named after him. James Alexander Calvert was born on April 5, 1815, to John Calvert and Isabell Storey. His father John came to the United States at 18 years old. He and two brothers came over from Scotland. They eventually moved to this area and settled in Virgil in 1800. They had a 300-acre farm which included Virgil Corners. When they moved here, there were about 30 people living in Virgil and only 3-4 houses in theRead More →

Streets of Cortland: Kellogg Road Orris U. Kellogg owned a 700-acre farm on the west bank of the Tioughnioga River where he bred and raised cattle and racehorses. His cattle were some of the most highly prized stock in the United States, and he had a racetrack on his property in order to indulge his love of light harness racing. Kellogg purchased the farm in 1876 and called it Riverside Farm. If you have ever driven down Kellogg Road, headed towards Blodgett Mills, there was a gorgeous barn standing with two houses. This was the O.U. Kellogg Farm. .O.U. Kellogg was born in Taylor onRead More →

Hamlin Street was named after the United States Vice President Hannibal Hamlin. Hamlin was the vice president under Abraham Lincoln during his first term. In the 1864 election, Andrew Johnson was chosen to run as vice president. Our story could end there, but the original name of Hamlin Street was Gazlay Avenue. Why? Dr. Henry Champion Gazlay (1818-1900) was a physician in Cortland for many years. He graduated from the Eclectic College in Syracuse and began his practice in Truxton in 1841. He moved to Fabius until 1847, returned to Truxton, and then moved to Homer in 1857. He was a partner with Dr. EzraRead More →

Grace Street is a tiny side street that started off life as Schermerhorn Street. I do not know why the names were changed, except that the news article that tipped me off on how to find out more about Grace Street had incorrect information, so that’s a reminder to always take newspaper information with a grain of salt! The article said Grace Street was named after Grace Walrad “whose father, C.P. Walrad, opened the street.” Right off the bat, I recognized Grace Walrad’s name and knew that C.P. was her husband, not her father because earlier this year I did some research on this family.Read More →

Today we are taking a look at Reynolds Avenue, that crooked little street between Tompkins and Union Streets. Reynolds Avenue takes its name from Judge Joseph B. Reynolds (1775-1864), an early Cortland County settler to Virgil. When I started reading about Judge Reynolds, I couldn’t help but wonder why, if Reynolds started off in Virgil, was a street in Cortland named after him? Joseph B. Reynolds was born in Easton, Washington County, NY, and he came to Cortland County in 1808 at the age of 24. The only resources he had for his big adventure were the two cows he drove here. Once in Virgil,Read More →