When I started working at CCHS eight years ago, I had never heard the term “plank road,” and I bet many of you have never heard the term, either. A plank road is exactly that, a road made of wooden planks. Two parallel stringers were covered with planks of wood 3-4 inches thick and 8 feet long. The planks were not secured to the stringers, but they stayed in place because of their own weight. The ends of the planks were not trimmed because the extra projections were often useful when wheels went off the road. In my mind, it does not seem likeRead 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 →

According to the 1888 map of Cortland Village, L.M. Loope owned property near Copeland Avenue and according to our reference article on how the streets in Cortland were named, he is the namesake for Loope Street. Lucian Melvin Loope was born on November 8, 1845, in Solon and was the youngest son of J.H. Loope, “one of the oldest living pioneer settlers of this county.” Lucian was educated at the Cincinnatus and Cortlandville academies as well as the Oneida conference seminary in Cazenovia. He taught school for a few terms while he completed his own education. After he finished school, he traveled west for aRead More →

While looking through “Grip’s Historical Souvenir” recently, I noticed a woman named Marion L. Weatherwax who was a clerk for the Cortland Standard. It made me remember that I had seen Weatherwax Street on the 1888 map of Cortland in the entryway at CCHS. Today the street is called Bement Place, so what’s the scoop? This one is not exactly solved, but I wanted to share the avenues (pun intended) I took to try to find some answers. Our starting point was the 1888 map where the street is labeled and the property in that vicinity was owned by B.F. Weatherwax. The first place IRead More →

Graham Avenue is a street that brings back fond memories for me. As a teen, I worked summers at WSUC-FM, the college radio station. I often had a morning shift and rode my bike up there from my great grandmother’s house on Rural Avenue. It was always so peaceful and quiet at 5:00 am. It was still usually cool, but heat and humidity were just lurking around the corner. When I was at the radio station, I had no idea who Brockway Hall was named after (George Brockway, I know now), and I never gave a thought as to how the street was named. JuliusRead More →