The 1890 House Museum

The 1890 House Museum

Posted by  //  January 22, 2023  //  Local Business

The 1890 House Museum in Cortland aims to promote and interpret the historical and cultural significance of the property to the public. The museum seeks to collect, preserve, research, display, and interpret objects that promote local and national history of America’s cultural heritage during the late 19th to early 20th centuries. 

The house originally belonged to local entrepreneur and inventor Chester F. Wickwire, who created a worldwide wire industry based in Cortland that changed the face of rural life. Through tours at the museum, visitors can experience the world of the Wickwire family, as well as the daily lives of the servants and factory workers who sustained their lavish lifestyle. 

Marian Wickwire O’Connor was the last Wickwire to reside at 37 Tompkins Street, and she died there in 1973. Shortly afterward, the residence and its contents were sold at auction. Cortland County leaders, including members of the Wickwire family, successfully campaigned to preserve the house, and it became The 1890 House Museum in 1975. 

Tours are available Thursdays through Sundays, and details can be found on the website, at: Also note that the museum is always seeking volunteers, and if you enjoy local history and/or the Victorian era, this might be a fun task for you! Please stop in, inquire, and fill out a volunteer form during museum hours. The museum is the #1 tourist attraction in the area, and while it is certainly a “Crown Gem” in the Crown City, it takes many hands to keep Cortland’s local “castle” alive. Please consider coming by the house for a visit, renting the house for a special occasion, or attending an event that is scheduled there. If you’re not able to visit, but wish to assist with the preservation of the house, donations are always welcome.

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm