The 1890 House Castle was built in 1890, hence the name. It is located on Tompkins Street in Cortland, New York. It was built by Chester F. Wickwire and designed by S. B. Reed.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I live in cortland county and there is an 1890 House (wickwire) in the area. I have never heard it called a castle though as a child I thought it was one. I love going into that house, we sing christmas carols there every christmas. I must report that the house underwent damages in a fire last year. The community has done a wonderful job in restoring what they could of the house. It looks good considering the fire. I do not know the exact cause of it.

The house has 3 main floors, a basement level, and a look out area at the very top. It is really a lovely home. Many of the same furnishings such as beds, and sofas are still in there to this day. The first floor has the kitchen, sitting/living rooms, dining room, a hall way with cabinets of books (the books are still there), and a lovely side room, used as a morning nook. The side room has a lovely fountain, and a glass dome roof. The second floor has two sets of stairs leading to it. The servants stairs that go up from the kitchen, and the main stairs in the front of the house. There is a child's bedroom open to public at the back of the house, and another bedroom on display at the front of the house, along with glass showcases displaying items left in the house.

The stairs leading to the next two floors are narrow, and you basically have to climb them single file. The third story was once a ball room, and a billard room, at different times. It is large and spacious, with a door leading to the "tower" its a small room with windows, in what would be the tower part of the house. the final floor is the look out tower. You can see the surrounding city from up there, and at sunset the view is breath-taking. I just thought that I would share this with you, as I have loved the site of this house and all its wonders since I was a little girl.

Later, I received mail from Laura Gaebel that said:

The 1890 House, A.K.A. Wickwire Manor is located on Tompkins Avenue in Cortland, NY. I am not sure of it's history, but I do know a little about the Wickwire family. They once owned a factory in Courtland (year?) The factory still stands, but is abbandoned and decrepit now. They were a very wealthy family.

Now, there is a city park planned for them, also... with a pool called "Wickwire Pool". Now the 1890 House is a museum that people can take tours through.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I am 53 yrs. old and my family's butler and nanny worked at the Wickwire's before coming to our house. They spoke very highly of the Wickwire's and told me they owned a nail factory in Cortland, NY. I often wondered what the house looked like- thanks for the picture.

On 5-21-09, I received e-mail that said:

I have an interest in grand old houses, and often find myself clicking on links to your site when researching various things. This evening it was Wickwire House in Cortland NY, listed on your site as "1890 House Castle" on the "Castles of the United States" page. I thought you and some of your website viewers and readers might be interested to know that is was commissioned as a near-identical copy to a home Wickwire had seen in NYC - a landmark property known as the "Bailey Mansion", as it was built for James Bailey, of Barnum & Bailey circus fame.

Not only does that home still exist, on St. Nicholas Place at 150th Street, (here's a google maps streetview:

but is actually for sale at this time (May '09). Asking $6.5million but it needs a lot of work inside.

On 8-16-12, I received e-mail that said:

I am currently the Museum Coordinator at The 1890 House Museum and Center for the Arts. I am not sure how current your "Castles of the United States" webpage is, or whether it is maintained any longer. If so, I wanted to update some of the information posted about The 1890 Castle.

The house was built in 1888, completed in 1889, and the Wickwire family moved into their home in 1890. That is why the museum is named after 1890, for the year they finally moved in. There is a history of the house, and timeline of what the Wickwire family lived through, located on our website www.the1890house.org

Chester F. Wickwire and his brother started Wickwire Brothers Company, in the City of Cortland, NY. The factory began production of wire cloth in 1873, but the company was Incorporated in 1892. The Wickwire Brothers company did manufacture nails, but the main product was wire cloth (which eventually was used for window screening).

Back to "Castles of the United States"

Photo courtesy of Phil Bilzor. Information courtesy of Airian N. Heller McGraw.