Squires Street received its name from James S. Squires, a gentleman we learned about last June. Take a look at the link to his story to learn more about this entrepreneur who was responsible for the original clocktower building. https://www.facebook.com/CortlandCountyHistoricalSociety/posts/3160045764063047 (James S. Squires post from June 9, 2020)
Today I’d like to talk a little bit about why Squires Street was named after Mr. Squires. By looking at the 1888 map of the village of Cortland, I found that he owned a number of lots on Tompkins, Owego, Squires, Park, and Duane Streets. In her book on the city of Cortland, former CCHS Director Mary Ann Kane wrote that J.S. Squires developed housing on the south side of the city which was near both factories and the railroad. If you look at the photo of the map, you will see the Cortland Manufacturing Co. and the Cortland Desk Company, both of which are right next to the railroad. (Sorry for the glare but the map is in a bad spot to get a good photo!) James was the treasurer for both the Ithaca and Cortland Railroad and the Utica, Chenango, and Cortland Railroad. With his entrepreneurial spirit, this guy was always looking for opportunities and he definitely helped to develop the city.
James purchased a lot at 44 Tompkins Street where he built a frame house. His family lived in this house until 1869 when he had the house moved to Owego Street so that he could build a huge brick house. The house sat on the corner of Tompkins Street and Prospect Terrace and after the death of Squires, another notable Cortlandite would live there–Judge Nathan Miller who would later become the Governor of New York State. In 1937 this gorgeous place would be razed by L.R. Crumb. Mary Ann Kane wrote that the
bricks were reused and turned inside out to build the English-style home which sits at 44 Tompkins today.
James S. Squires is another one of those movers and shakers from our past who left a big imprint on the city of Cortland but whose name is not necessarily known as widely as it should be. Time marches on and leaves accomplishments forgotten unless we take the time to learn about and appreciate our past. ~Tabitha
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