Significant Elements and Historic Ithaca

Ithaca's Early Aviation History

Significant Elements and Historic Ithaca

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Ithaca Heritage


The three-story frame building that now houses Significant Elements architectural salvage warehouse was built in 1888. It was originally a factory for the Electric Seamless Hosiery Company. The factory used knitting machines to produce cotton and wool hose. At the time, the tracks of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad ran just south of the building's Center Street location. By the early 1900s, a carriage manufacturing business operated by James Pritchard was located in the building, the precursor to Pritchard & Son auto dealers. The Burns Brothers blacksmith shop later took over the building. Then, from about 1917 to 1919, the Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation leased the building, along with its neighbor, and made experimental engines at 210 and 212 Center Street. A 1919 Aircraft Yearbook trade magazine article explained that “under its monstrous elms the Experimental Plant, with 10,000 square feet of space, houses the company’s designers.”[1] Later, the building became a corset factory, a storage facility for Rothschild’s department store, a private storage facility and moving company, a paper company, and a furniture store.

A mural on the side of the building was completed in 2011 by local artist Mary Beth Ihnken to celebrate the many different histories of the buildings use. The mural includes a Tommy Plane on the top left remembering the buildings history as a warehouse space during WWI for the Thomas Morse Aircraft Company.

[1] Manufacturers Aircraft Association, Aircraft Yearbook 1919 (New York: Manufacturers Aircraft Association, 1919)

[2] HIstoric Ithaca's Plain St. Mural - photograph by Zoe Van Nostrand, Fall 2020

This point of interest is part of the tour: Ithaca's Early Aviation History


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