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Cortland Normal School

Location: Courthouse Park at 37 Church Street, Cortland NY
(42.599330, -76.177141)

As the heat of summer surrendered to the cool of September, Chester’s feelings toward Grace also began to cool. Always the lady’s man, Chester found himself dividing his attention between Grace and some of her co-workers. Cortland Normal School had resumed its fall semester. The halls and walkways were filled with new, unassuming young ladies who were easily wooed by Chester’s coiffed hair and bedroom eyes. Nonetheless, despite the rumors, their faltering relationship persisted, for Grace was still deeply in love.

In April of 1906, Grace was called back home, as her sister was due to have another baby. The joyous occasion was quickly soured when confirmation of Chester’s infidelities reached her ears.

…I am a little bit lonesome. We have guests here all day, and I have engagements for every day and evening until next Tuesday. Say: I don’t know if you remember, but the Alpha Deltas (a Normal School sorority) have the Club Public a week from Saturday night. I thought you intended to go down there. If I come back Tuesday, will you come up Tuesday night, won’t you dear? …I want you to write me and tell me, dear, that you can come up Tuesday night. Of course, I could stay until week from Sat. but I want to go to the Club Picnic. You let me have my way this time dear, and I won’t ever ask for my way again.

Trial Manuscripts pages 1011-1014

Her letter was a thinly veiled plea. She knew Chester had been carrying on with the Normal School girls and hoped her presents might deter him. In a curt letter of response, Chester suggested she extend her stay with her family instead and informed her that he would not be escorting her to the sorority’s Club Picnic.

Chester had grown weary of Grace and her unrequited affections. Alas, much to Chester’s chagrin, Grace could not be so easily dismissed, for she discovered, upon return to Cortland, that she was pregnant with his child.

Courthouse Park was the former location of the Cortland Normal School, the first physical location of what is now, SUNY Cortland. The original structure was leveled during the tragic fire of 1919.