Created By: The History Center in Tompkins County
Local History often hints at larger stories...
In its heyday, the Clinton House was declared one of the finest hotels west of the Hudson River. What inspired the construction of such a grand building in an 1830’s village with a population of less than 4,000 inhabitants? The Erie canal was completed in 1825, linking Ithaca into a global network of waterways through Cayuga Lake. Until the national panic of 1837, Ithacans dreams for what the city could become were boundless.
Strong Sentiments Against Urban Renewal
The fact that we still experience the Clinton House as part of Ithaca's built environment is a testament to the strong sentiments of many Ithacans against the actions of Urban Renewal in the 1960's and 70's. Urban Renewal was responsible for the demolition of a significant number of historic buildings. Folks banded together in 1966 to form an organization that would eventually be called Historic Ithaca. The Clinton House was also in danger of being demolished, but Historic Ithaca played a significant role in saving this building as well as numerous others. Today, Historic Ithaca has its offices in a historic building in Ithaca's Southside Neighborhood where it also runs an architectural salvage store.
Engraving from: The Enduring Clinton House : a Proposal for its Rehabilitation and use. Rogers, Elizabeth, 1970, Ithaca, NY : DeWitt Historical Society of of Tompkins County (The History Center)
(The Tompkins County Public Library on the southeast corner of Green and Cayuga streets maintains a copy of this book.)
This point of interest is part of the tour: Nature and Culture of Downtown Ithaca - Visual Aids