10-12 Main Street

Crown City Touring- Main Street

10-12 Main Street

Cortland, New York 13045, United States

Created By: Cortland County Historical Society


The earliest building that appears on maps was an L-shaped brick structure that at the time was the residence of Robert O. Reynolds (1811-1855). Reynolds was partnered with Hiram Crandall as attorneys and counselors at law, and their office neighbored Reynolds’ home. By 1876 the house was reduced to a square shape and was owned by Julius A. Graham (1827-1902), who once ran the Cortland House and was involved in many different enterprises over the years. The residence underwent renovations in 1895 to form a new business block (#12) that would contain the drug business of Fred I. Graham, and an article from the Homer Republican revealed that workers discovered words in pencil on one of the casings that read “Built for Asa White, 1835.” Asa White was the grandfather of Andrew D. White, first president of Cornell University. From what I could see, the house was incorporated into the new block, which means part of #12 dates back as far as 1835!

Miles F. Howes was in charge of the renovation that brought the front of the brick building even with the street, added a third story, and filled the alley on the left side. Howes was architect for the Hatch Library, Emerald Hose building, and the Beaudry, Cobb, Beard, Churchill, and Samson blocks.

#10 started life as a wooden block that shows up on an 1884 Sanborn map. The brick face was added on in 1935. The spot is in some years referred to as the Miller building.

Interesting businesses that appear over the years:


In 1887, the Sanborn map indicates a photographer was located on the second floor; the matching directory shows that the photographers Mrs. Selover and Miss Schutt were located at #8, so perhaps there was a mistake somewhere.

1890s- The Misses Woods, dressmakers, located above Mrs. W.W. Gale’s millinery shop

1908- Star Theater

1914- Kennedy & Walsh clothing (John A. Kennedy & William P. Walsh)

#10 ½

1910- Nathan Miller, jeweler

1926- Graham Piano Co.; Eli Miller, jeweler; Joseph M. Smith, tailor

1965- Remo DeStefano, tailor

10 Main Street first became the Community Coffee Shop in July 1930 under the management of Arthur Giftakis. Prior to that time, it was a clothing store owned by Kennedy and Walsh (you can see an image of the advertisement for this business from 1914, as well as a peek inside!) and then owned by just John A. Kennedy until 1929.

In 1931, Giftakis relinquished proprietorship to Rudolph Hertz. It changed hands yet again in 1932 to Harry Morris, who renovated the restaurant before reopening.

Community Coffee Shop was under the proprietorship of Hazel McCarthy in 1933, who declared bankruptcy, leaving the space vacant in 1934. CJ Costes and Anthony Nicholson opened the Cortland Grill in 1935, and it remained as such until 1953 when CJ Costes owned it as the Community Coffee Shop until Anthony Souzas took it over ten years later.

The Community Restaurant expanded into #12 in 1999.

Other businesses located in #12:

1897- Fred I. Graham, drugs & optician

1910- Benjamin C. Quick, drugs, paints, etc.

1914- Walsh & Allen drugs (Thomas F. Walsh & Clyde M. Allen)

1926- Clyde M. Allen, drugs

1935- Oberson’s Clothing

1955- G.R. Kinney, Co. shoes

1965- Ritz Beauty Shop

#12 ½

1902- Offices, insurance and public works.

1910- Harry Newcomb restaurant; later The Model Lunch owned by C.F. Bristol

1926- Oregon Shoe Shine Parlor (Harry “Pop” Sedaris, grandfather of humorist/author David Sedaris) still there in 1960s.

1975- Basil’s News

This point of interest is part of the tour: Crown City Touring- Main Street


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