Created By: The History Center in Tompkins County
Ithaca College began modestly in 1892 as the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, founded in downtown Ithcaca by a local musician, violinist William Grant Egbert. The Conservatory grew during the following decades and affiliated itself with several local institutions: the Williams School of Expression and Dramatic Art (1898), the Ithaca Institution of Public School Music (1910), the Ithaca School of Physical Education (1916), and the Conway Military Band School (1921). In 1926 the Conservatory was licensed by New York State to grant bachelor's degrees, and in 1931 it merged with its affiliated schools to become Ithaca College. Today the College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 125 disciplines and welcomes over 6,500 students at its South Hill campus.
Before its move to South Hill in the 1960s, Ithaca College had a strong presence downtown. At various times, the college rented or purchased a hodge podge of downtown commercial buildings, public schools, churches, and movie houses. Although located today outside the city limits, Ithaca College is still strongly identified with the city itself.
This walking tour, rated as strenuous since it ascends E. Buffalo Street, begins at the Boardman House on DeWitt Park and includes many college landmarks. The walk takes a minimum of 90 minutes, longer if you visit sites 20 and 21.
This tour is based on a "Tompkins On Your Own" tour brochure prepared by the DeWitt Historical Society of Tompkins County (now The History Center in Tompkins County) in 1992.