Copyright ©2013. All rights reserved by author.
Drawn by the author from his book LINCOLN’S GIFT FROM HOMER, NEW YORK: A PAINTER, AN EDITOR, AND A DETECTIVE
McFarland & Company, Inc., 2011
Twenty-four miles northeast of Ithaca, New York, in Cortland County is the Town of Homer with a village also bearing the name of the Greek poet of Antiquity. Those who have ventured down the Main Street of the village have noted the nineteenth century architecture, the stately trees between the curb and sidewalks, and the American flags patriotically fluttering in the breeze. More than once the comment has been made about the village’s Norman Rockwell appearance, and one first-time visitor stated, “I thought I had driven onto the set of a Civil War era movie.” Indeed, the community can boast of 220 structures posted in the National Register of Historic Places. One of those structures, a red brick residence built in the Federal style in 1819 and remodeled in the 1880s in the French Second Empire style, has a significant connection to Cornell University. Located at 81 South Main Street, with its distinctive steep Mansard roof, projecting dormer windows, and bracketed eaves, the edifice bears a plaque indicating it is the birthplace of Andrew Dickson White, the first president of the Ivy League university founded in Ithaca in 1868.