History

There is history to discover in Cortland County. 

Did you know...

  • Cortland was first settled in 1791 and incorporated as a city in 1900?
  • the city was named after Pierre Van Cortlandt, the first Lieutenant Governor of New York State?
  • the leading industry in Cortland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the Wickwire Brothers wire factory?
  • Cortland was nicknamed "Huskie Town USA" as it was home to Brockway Motor Company, a pioneering truck maker?
  • the rural garden cemetery Cortland Rural Cemetery is the final resting place for 18,000 people, the current population of the City of Cortland?
  • famous residents included Ronnie James Dio (former frontman for Black Sabbath), Gary Wood (former NFL player), Elmer Ambrose Sperry (inventor of the gyroscopic compass), and the infamous Chester Gillette who in 1906 was convicted of murder of his girlfriend Grace Brown and executed by electrocution in 1908.

There is no doubt a rich and diverse history in Cortland County awaiting discovery.

 

Cortland County Historical SocietyThere is more to discover here than their amazing archives and research room. Explore their late 19th-century kitchen almost untouched and have fun deciphering what objects you can still find in today's kitchen. Also find a hair album, an arrowhead collection, and more.

The 1890 House Museum Built for late 19th-century inventor and industrialist Chester Wickwire, the mansion at 37 Tompkins Street is a large time capsule that illustrates the lifestyle of the wealthy Wickwire family, the servants, and the story of those who worked at the factory. There are many intricate architectural details, original Wickwire artifacts from photographs, letters, and items from the factory found across the five floors open  to the public. 

CNY Living History Center A massive museum complex with a diverse collection from larger than life Brockway Trucks, including a 1925 Brockway Fire Truck that traveled back to Cortland from Argentina, to an impressive 10,000 items collected and curated by the late Ken Eaton illustrating America's Civil War to rare items of local and national political significance, and the massive collection of antique tractors. 

Cortland Rural Cemetery Established in 1853, this beautiful 19th-century Victorian garden cemetery is 50 acres and is the final resting place for 18,000 people. A fine example of the rural cemetery as a solution to the problem of overcrowding urban cemeteries, the Cortland Rural Cemetery was designed as a garden cemetery that was carefully planned using architectural and landscape design. Walk the cemetery yourself with an interactive cemetrail tour and admire the beauty of the headstones and the impressive diverse species of trees to discover those who helped shaped Cortland history. 

Or...

Wander historic Homer, NY with a historic walking tour. Explore our connection to the Civil War era with local ties to Abraham Lincoln through the Village of Homer’s native sons, Francis B. Carpenter, William O. Stoddard and Eli DeVoe. Travel a little further a field and visit the William H. Seward House and Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn.

Or...

Be adventures with history and try the Experience Cortland GeoTour with historical gems around Cortland County to discover.

 

Tag your adventures with #CortlandHistory

 

1890 House Museum

37 Tompkins St., , , 13045

www.the1890house.org

Explore 15,000 square feet over four floors withing the Wickwire Residence in Historic Downtown Cortland, NY. The grand limestone Chateauesque style mansion, built by industrialist and local philanthropist Chester F. Wickwire and desined by architect Samu ...

Telephone607-756-7551
Central New York Living History Center

4386 US Rt. 11, , , 13045

www.cnylivinghistory.org

Preserving local history through Brockway trucks, war/military memorabilia, and antique tractors with 3 museums (Brockway Truck Museum, Homeville Museum, Tractors of Yesteryear) for the price of 1. The Brockway Truck Preservation Association, Inc. - ...

Telephone607-299-4185
Cortland County Historical Society, Suggett House Museum, Gift Shop & Kellogg Memorial Library

25 Homer Avenue, , , 607-756-6071

www.cortlandhistory.com

Founded in 1925, the Cortland County Historical Society collects, preserves, and interprets artifcats and documents representative of Cortland County's history.  Suggett House Museum The Suggeett House Museum is home to exhibits related to Cortland ...

Cortland Rural Cemetery

110 Tompkins Street, , , 13045

www.cortland-rural-cemetery.com

Located just moments from the heart of the Cortland, NY, the Cortland Rural Cemetery gently rises northward from historic Tompkins Street. Spreading graciously among fifty acres of winding drives, lawns, shrubs, and trees ~ amid islands of individual grav ...

Telephone607-756-6022
E-mail