Cortland, also known as the “Crown City,” is the uppermost city in New York state. The first settlers traveled up the Tioughnioga River to grow wheat, corn and potatoes. The river was used to transport produce downstate to larger cities. With the opening of the Erie Canal and the building of railroads, Cortland’s livelihood shifted from agriculture to industry. Cortland met the demands for goods with its distilleries, carding mills, cabinet makers, gunsmiths, blacksmiths and tinsmiths.
Today, the city is focused on education, with SUNY Cortland being its largest employer, along with nearby Tompkins Cortland Community College and Cornell University.
For some artistic culture, take a short trip to the Dowd Fine Arts Gallery at SUNY Cortland. This year-round gallery is a great place to see works by contemporary artists, old and modern masters, and talented Central New York artists
Within the past year Cortland has unfortunately experienced several fires, which have drastically changed the cityscape of downtown. These tragedies have made the entire community more aware of Cortland’s rich history and historical architecture. State funds have been granted to numerous Main Street businesses for improvements, and efforts are being made to encourage downtown housing.
Established: Settled in 1791, became a village in 1853 and incorporated in 1900
Location: Midway between Syracuse and Binghamton, off Route 81
Population: 25,000, including approximately 6,000 SUNY Cortland students
Landmarks: Suggett House Museum, l890 House Museum for the Victorian Arts, Court House and its Veteran’s Memorial Park, the Tioughnioga River, Yaman and Suggett Parks, St. Mary’s Church, Cortland Fire Department, Cortland Waterworks Park
Institutions: State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland, Cortland campus for Tompkins Cortland Community College
Businesses: You can find all the usual downtown businesses, including fine retail shops, gifts shops, a tattoo shop, coffee shop and several other good places to eat. Notable companies in Cortland’s history are The Cortland Wagon Company (the largest and best-known maker of horse-drawn vehicles in the U.S.) and The Wickwire Brothers (manufactures of wire, nails and fencing). Large businesses today are Cortland Line Company, Cooper Tools, Cortland Cable Company, Marietta Corporation, Overhead Door, ITT, McNeil Insurance and the regional home office for Wendy’s.
Annual Events: Cortland Celtic Festival, The Great Cortland Pumpkinfest, The International Brockway Truck Show, Art in the Park, Downtown Sales Festival Days,
St. Anthony’s Parish Festival, Junior Fair, Dairy Parade, Water Festival, Music on Main Street, Concert in Court House Park and the Annual First Night Fireworks Show
Find Out What Cortland Has to Offer:
City of Cortland, www.cortland.org
Cortland County Chamber of Commerce, www.cortlandchamber.com
Cortland County Business Development Corporation & Industrial Development Agency, www.cortlandbusiness.com
SUNY Cortland, www.cortland.edu
Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.cortlandtourism.com
Cortland Downtown Partnership, www.cortlanddowntown.com
The Cortland Connection, www.cortlandny.com
by Kristin Grove
Kristin Grove is looking forward to a trip back to Cortland see the Town Pants perform at the upcoming Cortland Celtic Festival.