The Cortland Standard, the only daily newspaper published in Cortland County, is observing its 149th anniversary this year. Although the Cortland Standard is one of the community’s oldest institutions, the newspaper, in a sense, remains as new as today’s edition.
Known as the “Cortland County Standard,” the newspaper was established in June of 1867 as a weekly by Francis G. Kinney. The original publisher of the newspaper apparently encountered various difficulties in getting the paper started. In the first issue, he pointed out that the press had not arrived in time for the printing of the first edition. The first issue of the paper, therefore, was printed in the offices of the Homer Republican.
In 1872, Wesley Hooker purchased the paper. At the same time, he also purchased the Cortland Journal and combined the two papers under the name, “The Standard and Journal.” The name was changed to the Cortland Standard in 1879.
On April 1, 1876, William H. Clark purchased the paper and served as its editor and publisher for nearly 52 years. His son, Edward H. Clark, became president and editor of the newspaper in 1928 and continued to serve in that capacity until his death on August 28, 1973.
The Cortland Standard, which is one of the few remaining family-owned newspapers in New York state, continues to be published under the ownership of members of the Clark family. The Cortland Standard was relocated to its present site on the corner of Main and Tompkins streets on March 1, 1883. The building was at first shared with the Post Office, and the YMCA occupied space for a time on the upper floors of the Standard building.
In marked contrast to the appearance of today’s newspaper, the first issue of the daily Cortland Standard was a four-page paper published on March 8, 1892. The paper was printed on an eight-page flatbed press that was capable of producing up to 3,500 copies per hour.
The Cortland Standard has grown steadily with the population of Cortland County and with the rapid technological changes which have occurred over the years in the gathering and printing of news.