The beginning of the history of #3-5 Main Street overlaps with that of #1 covered several weeks ago (https://tinyurl.com/zd4y4h). 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 →

  According to the newspaper article that details the origins of street names of Cortland, ten of the city’s then 122 streets were named after United States Presidents: Arthur, Blaine, Cleveland, Garfield, Grant, Harrison, Lincoln, Madison, Monroe, and Washington. Blaine? Who was Blaine and where is there a Blaine Street in Cortland? A quick internet search revealed James G. Blaine ran against James A. Garfield for the Republican presidential nomination. Blaine was later appointed to Secretary of State under President Garfield. One mystery solved. There was, in fact, a Blaine Street in Cortland! It was a small street located off from Clinton Avenue which wasRead More →