The 1890 House is located at 37 Tompkins Street (NY Route 13), one block west of Main Street in the city of Cortland. On street parking is available in front of the museum as well as limited parking in the driveway. Additional parking is located in free city lots just a few blocks away.
The 1890 House Museum and Center for the Victorian Arts was the home of Chester F. and Lucy Ardell Rouse Wickwire. The limestone home was designed by Samuel Reed for the Wickwires and their two sons, Charles and Frederick. Mr. Wickwire's fortune was made in manufacturing woven mesh screening from his factory on South Main Street in Cortland. The home is a mirror image of the house built by Samuel Reed for James Bailey (of Barnum and Bailey Circus) in New York City. The Wickwire residence features beautiful hand-carved oak and cherry woodwork, parquet floors, and stained glass windows. A woven wire design is embossed on the doorknobs, latches, and hinges throughout the house as a reminder of the industrial success that made this lavish home possible. Much of the interior was designed by J.B. Tiffany and Co.
In 1974, the Landmark Society of Cortland County, Inc acquired the residence with a goal of restoring this unique architectural landmark. The mansion was renamed the 1890 House and within a year was opened to the public for use as a museum. The 1890 House is operated as a non-profit organization chartered by New York State. The museum retains many original Wickwire furnishings.