Stevenson Street was named after Troy native Theodore Stevenson. He came to the then village of Cortland in 1872 and quickly built a name for himself as a man who got things done. His first occupation in this place was selling fire insurance. He set up an office over the First National Bank in an office with Judge Crandall. He started out representing several different insurance companies and his business soon outgrew his first office. In 1876 he moved to 22 ½ Main Street where he kept office for many years. After 1884 Stevenson added life and accident insurance to his offerings, and eventually, heRead More →

The undated newspaper clipping I have been using as a guide to uncover more information about the names of our streets in Cortland was published around 1910 or later. It was based on the knowledge of H.J. Harrington and Theodore Stevenson (yes, more street names!). Today I discovered that there was an error for Rickard Street. The clipping states that Rickard Street was named by Elziver O. Rickard for his father, Israel Rickard. However, Israel was his uncle, and his father was George Washington Rickard. (Now I am wondering if Washington Street was named after George and not President George Washington, as it states inRead More →

Charles Street is a small, one-way street that runs parallel to North Main Street. It’s a residential street, and most of the time, you wouldn’t even use it unless you are visiting someone who lives there or there is a detour for street repairs on Clinton Avenue. However, Charles Street has some gorgeous old houses, though some need a little TLC. There are stories just waiting to be told about those houses and the people who built them! We’ll leave that for another day. Today we focus on Charles Wesley Collins, the man whom Charles Street was named after. Collins was born in Canastota inRead More →

Comando Avenue became a special place to me because my first husband’s grandparents lived there, and we visited often. It was there that I first heard that Comando Avenue was named after Judge Comando because he owned a lot of property in that area and rented houses to the Italian immigrants who were moving into Cortland during the early 1900s. I was always so curious about who this mysterious Judge Comando was! Fast forward to spring of 2020 when I found a Comando family scrapbook and some beautiful photos of Judge Albert Comando and his wife Dorothy. It seemed like a big project, though, soRead More →

By Tabitha Scoville “Stone Soup” is one of my favorite children’s stories. It’s amazing that all of the people who could not help a hungry stranger suddenly make a small contribution towards the soup once they heard how tasty it would be with just a little bit of carrots, potatoes, etc. from their pantry. Cortland County Historical Society is a perfect example of how the generosity of strangers to a common cause can create a fabulous concoction. People have been giving CCHS their cherished family heirlooms, photos, and stories for more than 95 years. Each contribution is like a bit of celery, onion, or spicesRead More →

Dear CCHS Members, Friends, and Visitors, Cortland County Historical Society will reopen under NY Forward Phase 4 Guidelines on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. While we look forward to returning to work on site, out of concern for everyone’s safety and the physical limitations of our facilities, the James Suggett House Museum and the Kellogg Memorial Research Center will remain closed to members, friends, and visitors.  We will offer distance research (free to members) only. Our priority when we reopen is to respond to the growing backlog of research requests, in the order in which they were received.  Please email your research requests to WeRead More →

July, 2019 The popular series returns this month with 4 exciting presentations at the Historical Society. Bring your own lunch or just enjoy a beverage and dessert with us. This program is free and open to the public. We start at 12:10 and finish at 12:50. Call 607-756-6071 for more information.   Wednesday, July 10 “The Cortland Academy in Homer: Its Origins and History” Please join Martin Sweeney, Historian for the Town and Village of Homer, to learn more about the beginnings of a school on the green in Homer. This year is the bicentennial of state-approved education in Homer, NY. There has been aRead More →

The corner of Main and Port Watson Streets In 1812 the Randall brothers, William and Roswell, originally from Stonington, Connecticut, came to the little village of Cortland. The enterprising brothers immediately went to work and built a general store on the north corner of Main and Port Watson Streets. The brothers were astute businessmen. They painted the building yellow, and it was thereafter known as “The Yellow Store”. At first, Cortland was a market town but small businesses soon followed. The brothers established distilleries on South Main Street and they manufactured potash. At this time whiskey was a household necessity! It was 15⍧ a gallonRead More →