Copeland Avenue takes its name from William S. Copeland, one-time proprietor of the Messenger House, the iconic hotel which used to sit on the corner of Port Watson and Main Street. Information on Copeland is scanty, but what I did find was that his former residence became the hospital when it had outgrown its buildings. William Copeland was born in Tully in 1819. Very little is written about him, but I was able to find that he married Harriet Emerson of Solon, in September of 1847. He kept a tavern in Solon for a time and eventually landed at the Messenger House in Cortland. AccordingRead More →

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 →

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 →