Created By: The History Center in Tompkins County
Cornell botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey designed this unusual house in collaboration with “Pa” Martin, dean of Cornell’s School of Architecture.
Although Bailey had intended it to resemble a Swiss chalet, the house, which was completed in 1900, is actually a loose interpretation of the Mission style. Notable features include a low pitched, over-hanging red tiled roof, freely arranged fenestration, and the diamond paned windows at the second story.
Bailey dubbed this area of East Hill the “banana belt” for its unique microclimate, which was warm and mild, for Ithaca. The house at one time was surrounded by extensive plantings that were suited to this climatic niche.
Bailey’s daughter Ethyl owned and occupied the house until the early 1980s. Following her death, the house was converted to multiunit housing by the Novarr-Mackesey Construction Company, which won an award from Historic Ithaca for its sensitive treatment of this important building.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Lower East Hill Historic District