Every post card in my collection has its own story. Every Wednesday I post one of the 3,000 plus stories.
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Useful Then, and Useful Now
The railroad station pictured on the front of this post card is in Cortland, New York. Cortland is only about 55 kilometers (35 miles) from Syracuse, New York and 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Binghamton – almost due north and south between the two cities.
So, it makes sense that the first railroad to reach Cortland was the Syracuse and Binghamton Railroad, a forerunner of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, which opened a line between Syracuse, New York, and Binghamton, New York, on October 18, 1854. It was joined in 1872 by the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad, which extended west from its existing line at Norwich, New York, to Freeville, New York. This line was later leased by the Elmira, Cortland and Northern Railroad, which in turn became part of the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1896.
The present building was constructed in 1910–1911, with a formal opening on April 4, 1911. The brick building measured 155 by 50 feet and stood two stories tall. The space was sufficient to contain a waiting room, baggage room, a "women's retiring room", a smoking room, and a ticket office. The second floor was given over to company offices. It replaced the original station, which had served both freight and passengers. A new freight house was also built.
Traffic declined on the Elmira and Cortland Branch after World War I, and the Lehigh Valley gradually reduced service throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The last scheduled passenger service, between Cortland and DeRuyter, New York, ended on April 25, 1948. Limited service remained in the form of mixed trains. Even these ended south of Cortland on April 30, 1950, leaving a roundtrip between Cortland and Canastota, New York. This was effectively withdrawn after 1954. Lackawanna passenger service ended in 1958.
The Lehigh Valley abandoned the branch north of Cortland in 1967. Most of the branch south of Cortland was out of service by the mid-1970s. Conrail, successor to the Lehigh Valley, abandoned all but 3 miles (4.8 km) within the vicinity of Cortland. This line is owned by the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway.
The station is still standing today. As I searched the internet for information, I came to the conclusion that the old station is the heart of the Cortland Community Centre. This is their website: http://cortlandcommunitycenter.org/ It looks like they are just starting to develop this website.
The post card was published by the William Jubb Company. The business started in 1908 and continued until the Great Depression era in the 1930s. The company published view-cards depicting scenes from western New York State. Their white-border cards manufactured in the United States were printed on a textured paper similar to that of linen cards. This is one of two post cards I have from this company.